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Terri Nunn

Terri Nunn, with Berlin, will headline the Pride in the Pines festival at Thorpe Park this weekend. (Courtesy photo)

A new venue for Flagstaff’s most inclusive showing of love and acceptance means more legroom for one of the most popular local festivals: the 18th annual Pride in the Pines.

This year, Thorpe Park will host the two-day party plus new trimmings to put the cherry on the Saturday and Sunday celebration of diverse local flavor.

As a thank you, firefighters, local law enforcement and their families can attend Sunday’s party for free with valid ID.

“They’re all putting their life on the line for all of us, especially living in the beautiful national forest. This is a Pride family event, and we’re family at 7,000 feet,” said Pride in the Pines founder and Northern Arizona Pride Association President Kat Jim.

The weekendlong party will kick off Saturday at 11 a.m. and delight the whole family with games, contests, food and drinks plus music from pop superstar Dev.

The party will rage through the night at Collins and Monsoons downtown with a drag show and dance party.

EVOLVING SOUNDS

Sunday’s special treat is 1980s New Wave sensation Terri Nunn and Berlin, who performed the Academy Award-winning hit “Take My Breath Away” and other chart-toppers like “No More Words” and “The Metro.”

The Daily Sun phoned in with Nunn at her home in California to talk about all things Pride and her group’s latest collection, Animal.

“I absolutely love Prides,” she said. “I will play them any time, any place. I love the energy, the people, the fun. It’s just some of the best times I’ve ever had standing up.”

Nunn is married with children but is a straight ally to the LGBTQ movement, and she gained many friends within the community after being a guest judge on season two of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

She said it was one of the best times she’s ever had and is where she met Drag Race’s runner-up and 2012 Pride in the Pines entertainer, Raven, who costars in Berlin’s newest music video for Animal’s eponymous single. Fellow fabulous Drag Race contestant, Shangela, will entertain Saturday’s Pride crowd.

After pioneering the electronic sound that was sometimes too out-there for mainstream airplay, Berlin is revamping their style in the wake of the electronic dance music craze bumping forth from speakers around the world.

“It’s both retro and cutting edge because I heard sounds in what is going on in EDM that were sounds that we started with, and I heard sounds I’d never heard before,” Nunn said. “It inspired me to make Animal because I thought, ‘OK, now I see a place for Berlin where we can make a statement in this and it won’t sound stupid because we can use the sounds we’ve been doing, and we can introduce people to sounds they’ve never heard us do before. That was the goal for Animal.”

In the video, the sexy bass thump is the backdrop for the sultry dance between Nunn and Raven while highlighting the drag queen’s fierce beauty.

“Of course I’d seen drag queens over the years, but this was my first time up close and personal and working with them, and put in awe of how good they are at being women. They’re better than me!”

She continued, “They love it so much, and it humbled me because I’m a person where some days I just don’t wanna get dressed. I don’t want to put the makeup on. I don’t care, I just don’t want to do it, and they live for that. They love being a woman, and they see so much beauty in it, and divinity in it.”

COME TOGETHER IN A HUG

Like Nunn, most Pride in the Pines sponsors support the event because they have someone close in the LGBTQ community.

“That’s huge in the gay community-supporting people that support diversity, inclusion, acceptance, and that’s the reason why Prides exist,” Jim said. “Prides will always exist until equality across the board is totally accepted.”

Given Arizona politics and 2014 is an election year, the event’s organizers stress the importance of voting for equality and demonstrating the strength of the community through fun, supportive gatherings like Pride.

This year, there are new festival events, with one standing out: the Big Gay Hug, or #BGH.

“It’s showing all of us coming together,” Jim said of the campaign initiated by a local friend to the movement. “It’s not just us, it’s sponsors, the gay community and plus our political leaders just showing what Flagstaff is all about: We’re a bunch of huggy hippies in Flagstaff.”

Also new to the scene is a VIP lounge with games, a three-legged race, tasting of new beverages from Miller Lite and Barefoot Winery, food and small snacks from local restaurants.

Jim said without community and incredible sponsor support, festivals like Pride would not exist. She noted a quote she reads every day before leaving her home: “Take pride in how far you’ve come and face how far you will go.”

Diandra Markgraf can be reached at dmarkgraf@azdailysun.com or 913-8670.

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