Brandon Student Brings Pride Festival to Ortonville – The Oakland Press

Abigail Rowe had an idea when she returned from vacation in December 2020. This idea will become reality next month.

Rowe, a sophomore at Brandon High School, is the main organizer of Abigail’s Pride Festival, an LGBTQ event taking place in downtown Ortonville on Saturday, June 4.

After seeing a YouTube video of a Pride event, she went from wanting to go to an event to creating one in her hometown.

“I really didn’t know what I was getting into, but I knew I wanted to do this not just for myself, but for people in the community,” Rowe said.

There will be a parade at 11 a.m. followed by a festival from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be 13 parade participants, 23 vendors and eight speakers at the festival. The festival will also host artisans and artisans, musicians, food trucks and games.

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A senior Girl Scout, she founded Abigail’s Pride to earn her gold award, the organization’s highest honor.

“For you to do this at your age and be so much wiser than your years and so connected; Congratulations to you,” said Melissa Clark, vice chair of the Brandon School Board, during a meeting Monday night.

Abigail spoke at the meeting and spoke to students from Lincoln Park Middle School and Henry Ford College to promote the event. More than 60 volunteers helped her through the process of obtaining permits, soliciting vendors and organizing the event.

“Businesses, residents and friends were immediately on board,” said Abigail’s mother, Elizabeth. “It’s amazing to see this idea become something so important to the community.

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Abigail, who identified with her family as bisexual in seventh grade, admits she received negative feedback in the past 18 months of planning the festival. But that didn’t discourage her.

“Most of the backlash comes from kids my age in school,” she said. “In our school there are a lot of children who struggle to find a safe space and the children need to know that there are people who can provide a place where they feel safe.”

Elizabeth said she was proud of the way Abigail lives her life and her sexuality has never been an issue.

“She told us and then we didn’t talk about it for a while,” she said. “She has no problem shouting it from the rooftops and it’s never been a big deal in our family.”

Abigail has created a website and social media pages to advertise the event and hopes to make the festival an annual event in Ortonville.

“It means a lot to me, but it’s more about helping others,” Abigail said. “It’s not something that will only be for this summer, but for as long as I can keep doing it.

For more information about the festival, go to www.abigailspride.com.