HELENA - Though it won't be the big bash it normally is, Pride celebrations will still move forward once it's safe to do so.
"It is a big party where we like to get everybody together, and they're all shoulder to shoulder, breathing on everybody," said Kev Hamm, president of Big Sky Pride. "Not exactly what we want to be doing in the middle of a pandemic that seems to be passed by droplets in the air."
Instead of hosting one large event in a central location like Helena, Hamm said the organization will instead be hosting seven smaller events all across the state so that people who have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic won't have a monetary barrier to join in on the fun.
"We have the resources in place that we had fundraised to do a massive event (in Helena) and we can turn around and reallocate those resources to move the event to seven smaller things, and that's what we're doing," said Hamm. "That means that people don't have to travel as far, they don't have to spend the night somewhere out of their home, they're spending less money to be there so they can spend more money at the thing. Or even if they can't spend money, most of the things are free. It's to show up and have fun."
Big Sky Pride will be hosting events in Kalispell, Missoula, Butte, Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls and Helena shortly after Montana exits the phase three restrictions of Gov. Steve Bullock's "Re-opening the Big Sky" plan.
Though there is a loose timeline for the events to take place, Hamm did acknowledge that the events are at the mercy of the times, whether it be the COVID-19 Pandemic, the holidays or weather related.
"As we push into September, we're already going to run up against Halloween. We don't need to throw a party then, everybody goes out. Thanksgiving, everybody's gonna want to see their family. Travel is gonna be a nightmare," said Hamm. "Then we're all of a sudden into February, because nobody wants to go out in January. So we'll do it as we can, and it may be that those seven weeks are spread out over three months. It's okay. We'll get there."