Pride dance, puppet parade come to Vashon | UPDATE

The Show Your Pride Dance will be held on Friday, June 17.

Update: Due to a COVID exposure among event leadership, the Puppet Pageant will be postponed. The new event date is August 27.

The Show Your Pride Dance, a separate event, will still be held on Friday, June 17.

Several events for Pride month are taking place on Vashon this Friday and Saturday for islanders to enjoy, which include a multi-generational Pride dance and a Giant Puppet Parade and Pageant.

To start off the weekend, the DOVE Project, Vashon Senior Center, Vashon Island High School (VHS) Queer Spectrum Alliance and the McMurray Middle School Gay-Straight Alliance are presenting the Show Your Pride Dance, which will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 17 in the Vashon Theatre parking lot.

As part of the evening’s festivities, DJ NXMXGXLDXX will be present, along with Seattle Drag King Ceasar Hart. The dance will include popcorn, treats, freshly-made cotton candy, button making and a selfie station.

Costumes are encouraged for the dance, and youth under the age of 18 are admitted for free. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $25 for those who are able to donate more. Proceeds from the event support the DOVE Project’s work to build a safer, stronger community.

On Saturday, June 18, in partnership with Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA), Open Space for Arts & Community and Jawbone Puppet Theater, community members can take part in the first-ever Giant Puppet Parade and Pageant.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a craft station for islanders to make items to walk along with the parade. The parade, departs from VCA as of 7:15 p.m. and will make its way to Open Space for Arts & Community.

Upon the parade’s arrival to Open Space the Giant Puppet Pageant will begin. After the pageant, the lawn of Open Space will transform into the Night Light Drive-In, where guests can take in a showing of the stage version of the film “Kinky Boots.”

The event is free, with donations accepted to help cover expenses.

Adam Ende, the founder of Jawbone Puppet Theater, has been working with community members since the end of May to create the giant puppets and masks that will be on display during the parade.

These creations, said Ende, involves many steps but are made out of papier-mache, and include upcycled materials such as brown paper grocery bags and recycled cardboard.

A key part of creating the parade and pageant was also involving the community, added Ende.

“The idea with this kind of community-based work and open studio is not a tortured artist by themselves in a studio,” he said. “It’s about sharing skills and ideas and generating the ideas together in community and creating something together.”

Community members, such as Paulina Barry, said that she was drawn to the workshops at Open Space, especially for the community aspect.

“I thought I’d come and try it because I love doing art, but I don’t often get the chance to do it with a community,” said Barry.

Beyond the workshops at Open Space, Ende has also been doing workshops throughout the spring at VHS’ Queer Spectrum Alliance club, as well as at McMurray Middle School’s Gay-Straight Alliance and Peace & Equity Club as part of the Artists in Schools program.

The middle school students Ende has worked with have created cardboard masks, and the high school students have made large pride banners. All students who have created these art pieces, said Ende, are planning on participating in the Giant Puppet Parade.

“A queer event seems really important right now,” said Ende. “Here we are on Vashon in a place that’s very safe and…I think even having these clubs in the high school and the middle school and having people feel safe in their identities is really incredible, but it’s not like that everywhere.”

Ende stressed that while the final performance is important, the process of creating art as a group is also just as critical.

As islanders come to see the work Ende and other fellow community members have crafted, Ende hopes those who attend leave feeling inspired.