It is with excitement and sadness that we make the following announcement: OUToberfest will become Mississippi Pride. Unfortunately, due to a still struggling economy coupled with weak financial support from sponsors and the community, OUToberfest will not happen in October 2011 but will evolve into (the first annual) Mississippi Pride in June 2012.
As noted, this announcement comes with mixed emotions. We would love to continue OUToberfest, but without financial support, a $10,000+ event is next-to-impossible, especially when the goal is to make it a free event for the community.
By becoming Mississippi Pride, we will be able to do the following: secure marching permits for a parade/march; increase sponsors from national and local businesses; fundraise more; and celebrate National Pride Month.
By making this bold change, we hope to re-energize the festival and the community, and our much relied on donors and volunteers.
Our vision for Mississippi Pride takes the best from OUToberfest and expands it's potential and reach. The Pride Festival will occur in the first week of June 2012 and serve as a kick-off for Pride Month. We hope to partner with organizations, individuals and businesses throughout the state to ensure that Pride is a success. Throughout the rest of Pride Month, we envision smaller events - from movie screenings to picnics to workshops - happening in the Jackson metro area and statewide.
It's time for us to unify and take our state's movement to the next level. To do so, we need your commitment. Whether you are an individual, a non-profit, a GSA, a local business, or a national corporation, there are several ways you can pledge your support:
This is not the end... It is a new beginning.
Now is your opportunity to help our festival evolve and grow by getting involved. Together, we will take another step towards increased visibility, growth, acceptance, and equality in Mississippi.
Chairman, Unity Mississippi