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TriPride lays claim to first ever two-state pride event in nation

From staff reports • Jan 10, 2020 at 5:30 PM

BRISTOL — The 2020 TriPride Parade and Festival will be held in downtown Bristol, in both Tennessee and Bristol, on August 29. It will mark the regional event’s third year and its first time in Bristol. Organizers designed the event to rotate among the three Tri Cities: it launched in 2018 in Johnson City; took place in Kingsport in 2019, and will be in Bristol this year.

In addition to being a first for the two Bristols, the TriPride Parade and Festival marks a first in national history, according to a press release from organizers: a pride event held in two states at once.

“We’re looking at similarly split cities such as Kansas City, Texarkana, and St. Louis,” Kenn Lyon, TriPride President said. “Based on our research, all of those seem to have their event in one state, but not both. TriPride in Bristol will take place in both Tennessee and Virginia. The parade will go down State Street starting in Tennessee culminating with the festival held in Cumberland Square Park in Virginia.”

TriPride organizers are keeping a similar format to the previous years’ events, including a series of activities during Pride week that lead up to the parade and festival on Saturday. Live entertainment, vendors, exhibitors and food trucks will be present. The parade and festival will take place in the heart of downtown Bristol and will be free to the public. The 2020 theme is “A Good Place For Pride”. This is an homage to the host cities and their iconic sign across State Street, and the Tennessee/Virginia state line, which reads “BRISTOL VA TENN A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE.”

Organizers are also working to incorporate and showcase the sister cities’ rich legacy of music into their planning.

“We want TriPride 2020 to have reflections of the host city and its culture. Bristol has a long history with music and we want to capitalize on that and work it into all of our planning,” said Jason Willis, marketing chair for TriPride.

TriPride will be accepting parade and festival exhibitor applications beginning in late January or early February. All contingencies and exhibitors, including those who signed up for the 2019 waiting list, will be emailed prior for an opportunity to sign up. Potential sponsors are encouraged to visit the website and click the ‘Sponsor’ link or email [email protected] A TriPride representative will get in touch.

TriPrideTN, Inc. is a 501(c)3 charity formed in 2017 whose purpose is to organize and present a free community Pride parade and festival. The parade and festival event is the primary tool the organization uses to further its mission: building a stronger and more inclusive community across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

For more information, to become involved or to donate, see the organization’s website at www.TriPrideTN.org or follow TriPride on social media.

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