June 11th, 2021

Wine Country Pride

Two Dogs Taphouse is one of the many businesses in Downtown McMinnville
displaying their Progress Pride flags.

Have you seen the rainbows in McMinnville? They’re everywhere, every day!

Rainbow pride flags, conceived in 1978 and flown in San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade, are flying high in June celebrating LGBTQ diversity for the second annual Wine Country Pride in McMinnville and around Yamhill County. 

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, which is now regarded as the tipping point for gay liberation movements in the U.S.

McMinnville got into the act last spring when Remy Drabkin was at a Black Lives Matter rally in town and thought, ‘Why not a pride parade?’ There, she ran the idea by Kristen Stoller, and barely three weeks later they’d organized a parade and also a “dragway” caravan with live music at Remy Wines outside of Dayton.

Wine Country Pride Organizers pose with drag queen performers in front of pride flags.
Wine Country Pride organizers Remy Drabkin and Kristen Stoller pose with drag performers at 2020’s inaugural event. Photo credit: Zachary Alan Goff 

“There was just all this energy,” Remy said, noting that the event was a huge success even at the height of the pandemic. “We were extremely Covid-safe; there’s a high level of Covid paranoia in my world, so that was a top priority.” 

There’s more energy, more participation, and a lot more to do this year. Such as …

Rainbow Quest: Enjoy Pride-inspired beverages and get your card punched at participating coffee shops, wineries, restaurants and bars. It’s like the Meltdown, but reimagined for Pride Month. Kids can participate too!

Speed Friending: If you’ve not been to Mac Market, here’s a great excuse to go. Bring a friend, and leave with a new one! Tickets and more info for the June 25 event are here.

Lez Be Smart: Show off your knowledge of all things LGBTQ at a trivia party at Remy Wines. Tickets are $40 and support local Pride events.

PFLAG Parade: This family-friendly parade will wind through Newberg June 26. 

Main Event: Drag Queens, raffles, speakers, prizes, a Dragway mini car parade, virtual raffle and more. June 26, 3 p.m. In person tickets to the event are sold out, but you can sign up to watch online.  Or if you’re craving some live pride energy, check out Pride Block Party, which promises great food, wine, and drag.  This event is also on June 26 from noon-4.

“The inclusivity message is so important,” said Remy. “We have a lot of conversations about the way to be good allies. We say, ‘If you want to fly a pride flag, just ask us and we’ll give you one for free.”

The flag symbolizes diversity, inclusivity, acceptance and safety, and it’s a visual symbol that fills the hearts of everyone in the LGBTQ+ community.

“You have to imagine what it’s like to get to see this happen in the town you grew up in,” said Jennifer Jared, a local DJ who came out at 15 in 1994 when Oregon was still reeling from anti-gay attacks launched by ballot initiative. “Seeing this does my heart some good and I am beyond proud of my little town right now.”

A cartoon of David Bates

David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater productions since 1998.