By Forest Riggs
As the old adage says, June is busting out all over! Well, not America’s favorite pearl-wearing mom June Cleaver, but rather the warm, summer month of June has arrived, sans pearls.
Galvestonians and Gulf Coast dwellers take a deep breath this time of year and prepare for hurricane season, which officially starts each year on June 1.
Besides the weather aspect, another “tradition” busts out in June and that is Gay Pride! All over America, LGBTQ communities celebrate their pride during this month of June. Galveston is no exception and, as the event grows from year to year, Galveston Pride 2018 promises to be one huge storm of fun!
On Galveston Island, it is time to celebrate Pride Galveston 2018! This year’s celebration kicks off June 8 and continues through June 10. With so much going on, there is a bit of everything for everybody, from gatherings, concerts, dances, parties and drag shows (yes, we have them here) to various contests, giveaways and opportunities for networking. (Is that a fancy-schmancy word for cruising?)
The celebration is presented by Island Diva Promotions, Inc., owned by partners Jamie (Kiki Van Wales) and Terry Fuller Waymire.
The Island’s three LGBTQ bars are offering great times for all who visit and participate. The hub of activity centers around 23rd Street Station. The new owners of 23rd Street Station, Tom and Todd, have set the bar high for Pride participation and activities. Island Diva Promotions has worked very hard recruiting venues, permits and talent for the weekend’s unending events.
Pride Galveston kicks off Friday night at 9 p.m. with the long-awaited Mr. & Miss Pride Galveston 2018 Pageant at 23rd Street Station (1706 23rd Street, between Ave M and M1/2). Expect many amazing ladies and hot guys strutting their stuff to take home the coveted title. Don’t miss it.
On Saturday, June 9, 9 a.m. ’til 5 p.m., the annual Beach Bash takes place on East Beach. This is a huge party and a great way to mingle with locals, meet new friends and enjoy the giveaways and great things sponsors share at their booths. Kiki and company have worked hard to make this year’s Beach Bash bigger and better than ever, with DJ Houseman blasting away tunes for sandy bodies to gyrate to. Pack a cooler, sunscreen and come on down.
Last year’s Block Party was an amazing gathering of LGBTQ Galvestonians and guests, and this year will be even bigger. Headliners Mykul J. Valentine and Tiffany Hunter rock the crowd on Saturday, 5 p.m. ’til 10 p.m., on the block in front of 23rd Street Station. If you are looking for a place to get your groove on, this just might be the spot!
Across town, Rumors Beach Bar (3102 Seawall Boulevard) and Robert’s LaFitte (2501 Avenue Q), also rock to the fun and festivities of a fabulous Pride weekend.
Rumors, known for top-quality shows, great drink specials and drag queens galore, are importing the exotic talents of the incomparable Porsche Paris, bringing her best for Pride Galveston 2018. With a long string of titles and tiaras, Todd, Dessie Love Blake and the gang reached for the stars and got Porsche. Don’t miss her June 9 appearance, with show times at 11 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. And dance your butt off with a beautiful view of the Gulf.
Never to be outdone, good ol’ LaFitte’s opens its doors open with super friendly staff welcoming all for drinks, drag and poolside shenanigans. There is a reason this bar can brag about being in business since 1969 and claiming the title of “Texas’ Longest Running Drag Bar.” You gotta see it to believe it. Owner Robert Mainer has over the years kept this Island institution alive! Feeding people, helping those down and out, raising funds, offering care and hope — that is what Mainer and his crew have done for almost 50 years now! If you come to the Island for Pride, you must visit the hot-spot LaFitte’s and meet the good folks there. Jada and her harem of beauties and special guests perform all Pride weekend. It’s a must-see!
Wrapping up Pride Galveston on Sunday, 23rd Street Station offers a huge, afternoon T-dance, just like the “old days.”
Check out all of Galveston’s fine LGBTQ bars as part or all of you Pride Galveston doings.
Sadly, it is that time of year again. Memories and recovery endeavors still haunt the Greater Houston area, as so many were hit hard by last year’s Hurricane Harvey. That storm settled over the Houston area and for days dumped billions of gallons of water- water that had no place to go! Southeast Texans are strong and resilient and they prove it each time there is a disaster. Recovery is slow, but it happens. Having lived in several places around the globe, I am always amazed by the coming together of people, the strong and decisive leadership in charge and the unfailing ability of Gulf Coast dwellers to pull up their boots and get things done!
The Colorado State University hurricane research department has once again, after studying 60+ years of data, released their prognostication on the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. The team of meteorologists are “predicting” around 14 named storms, with five to seven of them as actual hurricanes and three to five as major hurricanes. The team predicts a 72 percent chance that a hurricane will strike the United States’ shores this season. That sounds sort of bad, but really it is no worse than usual.
The National Hurricane Center predicts about the same with a “slightly above average” hurricane season. That’s all fine and dandy, but as locals say, “let ’em blow and go! Don’t hover over us like Harvey, drowning everything.”
In truth, it is basically a high-risk coin toss! The storms are gonna form and they are gonna impact coastal areas. El Nino and La Nina both play a huge part in predicting and “modeling” storm activity for a given season. Experts say that Nino and Nina are about equal this year. There is warm water this year, but no warmer than usual. It really becomes a wait-and-see game, one locals to do not like playing.
Again, the main thing is to be prepared. Stock up on food items now, as well as bottled water, fuel supplies like propane and gasoline, charcoal and lighters, and first-aid supplies. Make a plan and be prepared to use it. Remember to start filling empty jugs, soda containers and bottles with your tap water. A toilet will flush as long as enough water is poured into the tank!
The storms this year have some great names. It is always fun to see the names and associate them with people you know with the same name, in terms of “storminess”: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie and William.
But don’t let the fear of hurricanes ruin your summer and especially your Pride celebration. The LGBTQ community of Galveston is waiting to show you a good time and share their great island LGBTQ pride!
Forest Riggs, a resident of Galveston is no stranger to the adventures of life. A former educator and business owner, he enjoys Island life and all that comes with it. He says he is a “raconteur with a Quixotic, gypsy spirit.” He has written for several newspapers and magazines as well as other writing pursuits, including a novel and collection of short stories.