Organizers are gearing up for Asheville’s restructured Pride festival, set for National Coming Out Day weekend.

On Oct. 10, LGBT community members in the town and folks from surrounding rural areas will make their way to the Blue Ridge Pride Festival in downtown Asheville’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. The event runs Noon to 8 p.m.

Featured entertainers this year include Cantaria, Asheville’s Gay Men’s Choir; Now You See Them, a folk rock and alternative band; Izzy and the Kesstronics, a surf, soul and swing band; Blondie tribute band Heart of Glass; female impersonators Natalie Productions; and soul, funk and R&B band Boogie Hustlers.

The festival will also include vendors such as Equality North Carolina, The Purple Pages, several LGBT-affirming churches and LGBT non-profits. So far, almost 50 vendors have signed up to attend the festival.

If you go

Blue Ridge Pride
Oct. 10, Noon-8 p.m., Free.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Park
50 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr.
Asheville, NC

This year’s festival is a far cry from last year’s organizing snafu, which almost resulted in the event’s cancellation. Formerly known as Asheville Pride, Blue Ridge Pride rebranded and brought on new organizing committee members after founder Kali Brewer allowed a major sponsorship and the festival’s event space to fall through at the last minute. The new festival’s organizers have also committed to ensuring a greater depth of inclusion and community involvement than in years past.

Sponsors this year include Value Place, Homewood Event and Conference Center, The Grove House, Tomato Jam Cafe, Families Together, Inc., PFLAG, City Real Estate, Malaprops Bookstore, Amanda Miles-Greater, CPA, The Purple Pages, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley, Patton Counseling Services, Inc., R.O Franks Aviation Company, LLC, North Carolina Stage Company and Jack’s Boxes, among others.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.