Morehead Pride Festival Expands in Second Year

Over the last two years, Morehead has made significant strides to become one of the most welcoming cities for LGBTQ individuals in Kentucky. In 2017,, an online compendium of “the best and most under-appreciated places to eat, drink and travel,” named Morehead, “The most LGBTQ friendly city in Kentucky.” This is due, in part, to the hard work of the members of Morehead Pride, Inc. in starting the first ever LGBTQ Pride festival in Eastern Kentucky but also to the businesses and people of Morehead who have openly embraced diversity and inclusion. 

On October 7, 2017, Morehead Pride will hold its second annual Pride festival from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on East First Street near the Moonlight Stage. Along with vendors and nonprofit groups from the region, this year’s festival will include live music, activities, food and craft beer on tap from West Sixth Brewing. Nashville singer/songwriter Daphne Willis will headline the festival along with musical performances by Sam Tolson, The Woodsheep, the Louisville Gay Men’s Chorus, and The Tealights. Willis’ publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music has resulted in her songs being featured in commercial, film, and TV productions including One Tree Hill, Empire, and Microsoft ad campaigns. Her recent hit “Somebody’s Someone” has racked up over 14 million online views, and she is currently touring dates in the U.S. and Canada.  

Daphne Willis

Hosted by Cadillac Seville, the festival will also feature professional drag performances and special guest speakers. In addition, Rowan County’s first Miss and Mr. Morehead Pride, who were crowned at the August pageant held at The Bar Complex in Lexington, Kentucky, will also be introduced and perform. This year’s keynote speaker will be Ryan Sallans, known for his work as a trans speaker, author, and consultant. In his book Second Son, Sallans engages the reader with an in-depth discussion of his journey through transitioning. Dan Savage states, “Ryan Sallans is an incredibly brave young man who has written a powerful book. Second Son will save lives.” 

In addition to the festival, Morehead Pride will be expanding this year’s Pride festival into an entire week’s worth of events. Events will include a display of two panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the Diversity and Inclusion Reception and Forum with keynote speaker, Ryan Sallans, the Morehead Pride Afterparty at Club 169 on October 7 from 8 p.m. – midnight, and a Youth Afterparty at the Morehead Drop-In Youth Center from 8-10 p.m. for those 16 – 20 in age. 

In partnership with Morehead Pride, the Camden-Carroll Library will be hosting two sections of the internationally celebrated AIDS Memorial Quilt – the 54-ton, handmade tapestry that stands as a memorial to more than 96,000 individuals lost to AIDS. It will be on view from October 2 to October 8 in the Athena Room on the second floor of the Camden-Carroll Library at Morehead State University. Visitors may attend this free display of The AIDS Memorial Quilt during regular business hours. 

In collaboration with JustFundKY, the Eagle Diversity Education Center, and the Camden-Carroll Library, Morehead Pride, Inc. will host the Diversity and Inclusion Reception and Forum on Friday, October 6, 2017 at the Camden-Carroll Library from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Speakers include Ryan Sallans, a trans speaker, author, and diversity trainer, Mark Johnson, board member of Bluegrass Black Pride and the PCSO (Pride Community Services Organization), and Jon Parker, Executive Director of AIDS Volunteers, Inc. (AVOL). AVOL has been on the front lines of the HIV/AIDS epidemic for more than 25 years. AVOL’s most recent effort in Eastern Kentucky is the Health Education Network Kentucky.

Ryan Sallans

The week of Morehead Pride is shaping up to be an exciting time of educational outreach, live musical entertainment, and exceptional drag performances, and it will feature food and retail vendors from across the state. For more information about the event or our organization, email

Donors: To make a donation to Morehead Pride, visit Our festival, education award, and LGBTQ programming are not possible without your support. 

Sponsors: If you are a business or nonprofit and would like to partner with us, visit 

Vendors: Download our 2017 vendor application at 

Follow Morehead Pride on Facebook at, and RSVP to this year’s event page at

RSVP to the Afterparty on Facebook at 

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