Drive-thru Pride returns

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald file photo People wave Pride flags while cars drive past the Hawaii County Building for Drive-Thru Pride in Hilo in 2020.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald file photo Macey and Ally Duff tie a homemade Pride flag to sign poles in front of the Hawaii County Building before Drive-Thru Pride in Hilo in 2020.

Hawaii Island LGBTQ Pride later this month will host “Drive-Thru Pride” for a second year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re hopeful the community’s moving in the right direction,” board treasurer Greg Lupton said. “We actually considered doing a regular festival this year, and probably could have met the requirements, but it was decided it was a little too uncertain in terms of the vaccination rate. … We decided to err on the side of caution and go ahead and do a drive-thru this year.”

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Drive-thru Pride is free and will be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, June 26, in the Hawaii County Building parking lot at 25 Aupuni St. in Hilo.

Enter Aupuni Street from Kilauea Avenue and proceed makai to the Hawaii County Building. Volunteers will be on hand to direct traffic and answer questions.

Guests will remain in their cars but can order food from vendors, get a grab bag of goodies and free drinks, buy Pride shirts, take photos of drag queens and win prizes. Businesses and social service organizations also will be on hand sharing information.

Participants are encouraged to decorate their vehicles and “Pride Your Ride.” Pictures will be taken of the vehicles and prizes will be awarded to the finest. Those with decorated masks also could win a prize.

Bay Clinic will host a pop-up vaccination clinic at the event, Lupton said.

The pandemic forced Hawaii Island LGBTQ Pride to cancel its annual Pride festival last year, but the nonprofit hosted its first drive-thru event.

More than 100 cars went through last year, Lupton said.

“One of the most delightful things about it was how happy people were to slowly drive their cars around the parking lot and see the various things we had and interact with volunteers,” he said.

Lupton had seen photographs of drive-thru graduations prior to last year’s Pride event, but said he couldn’t really sense from those photos what the energy of a drive-thru event was like.

“It’s very different from a regular festival, but people were still really happy to be out and seeing other people celebrating.”

This year, Lupton said the organization is getting five times the response from vendors and groups interested in displaying their information.

“We didn’t really have to try, which is nice,” he said. “Which means last year, our proof of concept seemed like a good thing for the community.”

This is the group’s ninth annual Pride event, and the theme is “Rise &Pride.”

“One of the, I would say, hallmarks of our committee is every year we come together at the beginning of the year to go through a process of creating what our theme is going to be,” Lupton said. “In doing that, we kind of think about what’s going on locally, nationally and globally in terms of the LGBTQ community and … start to develop what … thinkings and values we want to express in the theme.”

In the last year, Lupton said the group has been active in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and active in supporting transgender rights.

“We wanted something about that activism, and that reflected it,” he said.

PINK!, the official annual Pride after-party, will be held at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, June 26, at Hilo Town Tavern.

However, the RSVP-only event has sold out. Follow at @pinkitsashow on Facebook and Instagram for more information.

Pride will also partner with the Palace Theater for an LGBTQ+ Short Film Fest.

“Each year, the Palace partners with Hawaii Island Pride to bring contemporary LGBTQ+ cinema to the Palace big screen, usually in the form of new release feature films,” Palace Executive Director Phillips Payson said. “One of the bright ideas that came together under pandemic restrictions was putting together a program of short films. We’ve assembled a great program of fun, thoughtful and inspiring films covering a wide spectrum of LGBTQ+ perspectives from around the world, including a selection of films made right here in the state of Hawaii, programmed in partnership with the Made in Hawaii Film Festival.”

The short films will screen at 7 p.m. today and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Doors open 30 minutes prior to each show.

Tickets are available at hilopalace.com.

The films in this year’s program include:

• “Butch Please,” a 23-minute documentary from the United States;

• “Kama‘aina,” a 17-minute drama made in Hawaii;

• “Kapaemahu,” an 8-minute animated short made in Hawaii;

• “My Friend Michael Jones,” a 15-minute drama from New Zealand;

• “Other People,” a 9-minute dance comedy made in Hawaii;

• “Parental Guidance Suggested,” a 17-minute documentary made in Hawaii; and

• “So Long, Paris,” a 17-minute comedy from France.

“If this year’s showcase is a success, we’d love to make it an annual event,” Payson said.

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For more information about Drive-Thru Pride or Hawaii Island LGBTQ Pride, visit hawaiiislandlgbtqpride.org.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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