It is a party happening in cities all across the world in June: celebrating pride month! For the LGBTQ community in Beckley, the upcoming Pride Picnic is even more than that.

Mayor Rob Rappold agreed it is an inaugural bash after the January passing of an ordinance protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination in the housing and business markets.

 “I’m proud of the city and I’m proud of our city council who extended the current classification of discrimination to include LGBTQ,” Rappold said. ” I think overall we did the right thing we joined 11 other cities in the state who are progressive.”

The inaugural Pride Picnic will kick off Saturday, June 15, on the top-level of the Intermodel Gateway and go from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. It is a festivity Amy Stepp and her colleagues on the Beckley Pride Board have been working endlessly on to ensure everyone has a good time.

“This is not just an event for LGBTQ members of our community, this is open to everyone who wants to come out and be a part of their community,” Stepp said.

With 40 plus vendors, free food, a kids zone, and live music, Stepp and Mayor Rappold agreed this is the dawn of progressiveness in a once-traditional city.

“I think this is a big first step,” Stepp said. “We’re just here to promote a sense of community for everyone.”

“Having met a number of folks who put this together, I have great respect for them and I think the city will be welcoming and receptive,” Mayor Rappold added.