Village of Stockholm holding first-ever pride celebration this weekend

The small, Pepin County village is voicing its own message letting people know that it's OK to be who you are

STOCKHOLM, Wis. (WKBT) – June is pride month, which gives us a time to recognize the LGBTQ+ community.

Many larger communities, like La Crosse, Minneapolis and Milwaukee usually have their own festivals throughout the summer to celebrate these people.

And now a small, Pepin County village is voicing its own message letting people know that it’s OK to be who you are.

We tend to not think of small communities as being diverse.

The small village of Stockholm, Wisconsin is the complete opposite.

“This stretch along the river in particular is a special place,” Stockholm Pie and General Store owner Alan Nugent said.

Nugent moved to Stockholm from the Twin Cities with his husband about 15 years ago.

“It was known as a safe, accepting place,” Nugent said. “That’s why we looked here versus other places.”

Nugent, who runs his own pie shop along the Great River Road, says Stockholm is known for its creativity.

“And with the arts comes a very open mind, typically,” Nugent said.

And when he was told that the village is having a pride celebration, he had an exciting reaction.

“That is a great idea! Go for it!,” Nugent said.

Starting on Friday, June 11, this tiny village of 66 is hosting it’s first-ever pride festival called Lake Pepin Pride.

“It’s sort of surprising that we haven’t had a pride celebration,” event coordinator Jennifer Lindahl said. “Stockholm is a very small community, but we have a very large LGBTQ+ community.”

The plans for it came about pretty quickly.

“So we’ve had about two months from the start to this weekend,” Lindahl said.

But Lindahl says the festival is a way for Stockholm to come together beyond just gay and transgender people.

“Last year, we had an unfortunate incident where we had a multiracial young woman working at a local restaurant here in town that was harassed for working there,” Lindahl said.

The message for this celebration is simple.

“We all want to feel that we belong,” Lindahl said.

Another reason for Nugent to tell you that it’s OK to be you.

“It’s going to give a visual and a voice to all the kids,” Nugent said. “Not just here in Stockholm, but everywhere in the rural areas. And the more they see it, the more they understand they’re not alone. And that’s the most important thing for me.”

Nugent says the Stockholm Pie Company is participating in the celebration. It is going to be providing strawberry pies for the Strawberry Social Pride Gala on Saturday.

That takes place at the WideSpot Performing Arts Center, which is actually upstairs from the pie shop.

The celebration runs until Sunday, June 13.

More information about the festival can be found on Lake Pepin Pride’s Facebook page.