North Eugene High School’s GSA Holds First Annual North Eugene Pride Fest
Editor’s Note: This article has been corrected to mention that advisors from both Kelly Middle School and Madison Middle School were also a part of “the rainbow squad.”
This year’s Pride Month started off strong here in Eugene when, on June 3, North Eugene High School and their Gender and Sexuality Alliance’s co-advisors along with advisors from Kelly and Madison Middle Schools—collectively known as “The Rainbow Squad”—hosted the First Annual North Eugene Pride Fest.
Starting at 3 p.m., about half of the high school running track’s surface was transformed from its normally lifeless and rubbery black state to one of exuberant life and color as 200-300 students—and some of their families—arrived; many with colorfully dyed hair and camp attire.
On the far side of the festival, both Kona Ice and Kento’s Blo served attendees with sno-cones and Teppanyaki, respectively. Also on that side of the festival was a photo-booth and a large clothing swap consisting of multiple tents covering tables with all kinds of neatly categorized clothes stacked high. Throughout the festival, students were seen gathering everything from a couple of items to entire outfits.
In between the food and the entrance was the first aid table, an arts and crafts booth, face painting, cornhole, and a tented game of Jenga.
On the other side of the entrance was a place to get popcorn or an Italian cream soda and a couple of separate areas where large painted murals were being created. There was also a booth where students could apply makeup and jewelry next to where, in advance of a later drag show, Maliena Bitchcock, a local Eugene queen, held a drag tutorial while they applied makeup to a friend and dressed them up.
Across from them was a row of tents and tables featuring organizations such as PeaceHealth, Planned Parenthood, and Ophelia’s Place to name a few.
At 5 p.m., a drag show that was emceed by Diva Simone featuring both local professionals and 4J students began just as the never-ending sprinkle throughout the afternoon turned into a steady rain, soaking the raised stage. As the show neared, approximately 150 people of all ages gathered on the grass in anticipation.
The show, which was American Sign Language interpreted, started not long after the scheduled time and began with a stand-up comedy routine by a NEHS student. The comic—struggling with the distraction of a microphone that didn’t want to stay connected to the speaker—decried riding the school bus and, with subtle sexual innuendos, raged about the non-diversity in television shows about ghosts, ultimately arriving at a hotel bed covered in “ectoplasm” under a black light.
Following the well-received comedic opening act, the queens—Diva Simone, Brianna McQueen, and Maliena Bitchcock featuring a friend of theirs—performed their drag routines that were split up by student performances until the festival ended at 6 p.m.