Student-organized Carmel Pride event to return June 5


Carmel High School senior Ethan Stoehr is eager to see the second Carmel Pride festival be even bigger and better than the inaugural event.

Stoehr, who was one of the founders, is part of the group organizing Carmel Pride 2022, a free summer festival celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in Carmel.

The first Carmel Pride took place June 27, 2021, at Carter Green. The second Carmel Pride is set for 3 to 9 p.m. June 5 at Carter Green. Pride at Sunset will begin at 7 p.m., when kids’ activities will conclude, but those under age 18 are still welcome to stay, Stoehr said.

Despite only four weeks of planning the youth-organized event in 2021, Stoehr said it surpassed expectations.

“We didn’t expect more than 2,000 people to show up,” Stoehr said. “It really inspired us. It let other people know that the city was ready for something like this. I know we’ve had other people tell us there was someone who wanted to launch a LGBTQ-oriented business in Carmel because what we did with the Pride event had inspired him. We were blown away. We weren’t even sure we would get the money back we deposited.”

Stoehr said the organizing group has been planning the second event for six months. This year’s event will have a larger variety of food vendors, and entertainment will be expanded, as well.

“We have a bigger performance budget, so we’re using a big stage,” Stoehr said. “There is a coordinated professional drag performance that is occurring at the end, which should be entertaining.”

Stoehr said some high school singers and dancers will be part of the entertainment.

There will be merchandise for sale and a raffle.

“We learned (not to) underestimate the turnout,” Stoehr said. “People want to help, and people want to come out. We’re really not fighting alone like we thought we were before. The city was supportive of us. City Councilor Miles Nelson has said, ‘It’s so cool what you guys did.’ It’s nice to have his support.”

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