After nearly a decade in Ferndale, the Motor City Pride, Metro Detroit's gay pride festival, has announced this year's event will take place in Hart Plaza in Detroit over two days in June, according to an announcement on the festival website.
"Twenty-five years ago, the first pride march in Michigan was held in Downtown Detroit; we will celebrate that march by bringing the festival to Detroit," the website stated. "There is something truly energizing, exciting and empowering about holding Motor City Pride at such a prominent location as Hart Plaza because it solidifies the notion of LGBT people as contributing members of our larger community."
While in Ferndale, the festival was a one-day event. The larger venue of Hart Plaza will allow festival organizers expand to two days, June 4-5 this year, the website stated, allowing the festival "to double our offerings of activities and entertainment."
Comments have varied in reaction to the announcement. Most notable was from Oakland County's 25th District Commissioner and former Ferndale Mayor , who blogged Sunday evening about the change.
"While I disagree strongly with their decision, for a host of reasons, I do wish them the best of luck and hope that the event is successful in every way," Covey wrote.
Covey was the first openly gay mayor elected in Michigan and worked closely with Motor City Pride in the years it operated in Ferndale.
"Ferndale will always be here as a beacon for diversity and will always be home to thousands of GLBT persons and their allies," Covey wrote. "When the officials of Motor City Pride decide to come back to Ferndale, the residents, city officials, and businesses stand ready to welcome them."
There was some buzz on the Motor City Pride Facebook page that ranged from support to opposition.
"If Pride moves to Hart Plaza, I for one will not be attending," posted William Freigruber.
While Alia Allen posted "Hart Plaza Pride would be outstanding!"
According to the Motor City Pride Web site, the pride festival's origins began in 1986 when Covey and the Michigan Organization for Human Rights organized Michigan’s first Gay and Lesbian march in Detroit. The festival grew from there. Last year it was estimated that 45,000 attended Ferndale's Motor City Pride.
Watch Ferndale Patch for more updates on this story.
Clarification: The pride festival's origin date was corrected to 1986.