Flags soar and colors bloom at Grand’s 2nd annual Pride celebration
Thousands of celebrations light up the country during Pride Month, and for a second year in a row, Fraser was home to Grand County’s Pride celebration. Fraser’s slogan is “Leaving Planet Earth,” and the town’s Pride Day helped both locals and guests leave the troubles of the planet behind to celebrate love and inclusion.
The celebration was hosted by a new organization, Grand County Pride, led by Stephanie Aghajanian and Liana Claire Aghajanian. This year, they offered a lineup of events in Fraser that the whole family could enjoy. A number of local organizations sponsored the event, including the Grand County Historical Association, Adventures Decanted and more.
“We’re excited it’s happening again for a second time,” Stephanie Aghajanian told Sky-Hi News. “The person who started it last year ended up selling their business and moving out of state, so we picked up where she’d left off.”
Last year, Grand County’s first official Pride celebration in decades took place at Fisher’s Bar, thanks to organizer Emily Amanda, the former owner of Granby’s Arapaho Valley Ranch. This year Kaydee Fisher, co-owner of Fisher’s Bar, hosted the event again.
“The main thing was to make sure it happened again, so it can keep on happening,” Stephanie Aghajanian said. “We made it so that it’s more family-accessible this year, which is why we have … a separate entrance and area away from the bar, more friendly for kids, strollers and babies.”
There were stickers and arts and crafts for kids in Fisher’s event space. The attendees headed outside for a parade down Fraser’s Zerex Street. They cheered and waved flags and colorful fans as cars driving by honked their horns in support. The paradegoers high-fived pedestrians and danced to tunes provided by local DJ Jen Gold during the parade, including anthems by Whitney Houston and Diana Ross.
Returning back to Fisher’s Bar, attendees hung out the flower garden, bought Pride shirts, and browsed the booth of Winter Park artist TJ Daring.
Later, DJ Jen G revved the party into high gear.
“When (she) started her set, we started sending out the word and ended up with a nice full dance floor! It was great energy that went right till closing,” Stephanie Aghajanian said after the celebration. “It was a great night, nothing bad happened, no one got hurt, just a good day with good people and nothing but positive support from our community.”
An unexpected revelry of love also transpired when local couple Mikki Wright and Makenah Mouton tied the knot together on the dance floor, rounding out the celebration and creating a memorable Pride Day for everyone who was part of their engagement.
“We had set forth some core goals of keeping Pride alive and creating a safe space for the younger members of our community. We achieved those goals and so much more!” Stephanie Aghajanian wrote of the event. “This couldn’t have been done without the amazing efforts and awesome DJing of Jen Gold, the perfect venue and support thanks to Kaydee Fisher, and the help and guidance from Emily Amanda, who started this torch last year that we are committed to keeping lit.”
It was fitting this year’s Pride celebration took place in Fraser. The slogan “Leaving Planet Earth” was inspired by locals Ed Stahl and Steve Gorelick in 1977. That same year, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, signaling an early shift in cultural consciousness to celebrate inclusion of all people.
Steve Gorelick said of Fraser in the 1970s: “There was a palpable sense of family and community that embraced all ‘locals’ even if they’d only moved there a month earlier. It was a different world, and the metaphor Leaving Planet Earth seemed to fit.”
Stephanie Aghajanian and other members of Grand County Pride are excited to become part of Fraser’s current-day inclusive spirit, then branch out beyond that.
“We want to not only be a name in the community, but an actual functioning part of the community,” Stephanie Aghajanian said. She added that their website, GrandCountyPride.com, is currently being updated, although they may change their name to Rocky Mountain Pride to be more welcoming of other Colorado residents.
Stephanie Aghajanian said, “We’re looking to build this into a nonprofit that not only does things once a year,” but also hosts activities throughout the year, joins in other organizations’ events, plus fundraises for donations in the name of Grand County Pride.
“This year was small,” Stephanie Aghajanian added. “But we’re growing into something that will last and we’re really proud of that!”
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