LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Harris Erickson, a 19-year-old theater major, was born and raised in Lynchburg. Erickson has been performing in drag for about a year under the name of Thea Trickality. Thea Trickality is a character he began developing last October while attending Virginia Commonwealth University.
Erickson says he is excited for Pridefest, an event hosted by Hill City Pride later this month.
“There was such a long time where we didn’t have a Pridefest,” said Erickson. “Especially within the conservative conglomerate that is Lynchburg…there’s even more of a need for it.”
Members of the LGBTQ community say events like these are important to help people feel included.
It was originally supposed to be a two-day event, but organizers changed it to a one-day festival. An event scheduled for Aug. 27 at the Academy Center of the Arts was canceled. With the rise in COVID cases, organizers want to keep everything outdoors. This family-friendly event will be at the Riverfront Park on Aug. 28.
Hill City Pride held its first PrideFest in 2019. It was canceled last year but is coming back later this month.
Erickson told WFXR News that he is looking forward to the performances and hopes to be among them, performing as a drag queen.
“It has a bunch of vendors, great music,” said Marc Propst, a Coordinator for Hill City Pride. “We’re also going to be partnering with Star Hill Brewing to provide beer to our beer garden.”
“We also have an event later that night, it’s going to be our after-party event. That’s going to be here at the Glass House in downtown Lynchburg as well.”
“I’m most looking forward to having people just be able to have fun again,” said Propst, “to be able to see that there’s pride in Lynchburg and to see that there’s an acceptable community here.”
“To learn that…there was a group of people that wanted to put on a large festival to make sure that the queer population was seen, heard, and feels safe and welcomed by the businesses that wanted to extend their arms, that felt really really good,” said Kelli Coleman, Hill City Pride Board of Directors.
Coleman and her wife moved to Lynchburg two months ago from Dallas. That was an important message to make her feel accepted in her new home.
“I think young people being at Pride is so essential because of course, you don’t feel alone,” said Erickson. “You see families and you see love. And that’s what Pride is about. It’s about love. Let it be known.”
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