SALISBURY, N.C. — Community members will host their second annual local Pride festival in this central Piedmont town tomorrow, despite recent controversies over a denied festival permit and other concerns regarding potential protesters.

The event will be held at a privately-owned parking lot at 110 S. Lee St. in Downtown Salisbury and is slated to run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. As last year, a couple thousand are expected. Protesters could also show up; about 200 were present at last year’s festival.

Entertainers for the event include singers Amy Broome, Justin Dionne and the Ashley Jo Farmer Band. Emcees are Roxy C. Moorecox and Jamie Monroe. Speakers include 14-year-old Megan Alyssa Braun, the reigning Elite Miss North Carolina Queen of Queens and one of four teen spokespeople for National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment, an organization works to support those affected by bullying. Other speakers include Equality North Carolina Communications Director Jen Jones and local LGBT advocate Mike Clawson.

Salisbury’s 2011 event was largely seen as a success, attracting 2,000 participants. About 200 protesters were present. Police had to step in to calm down a few heated arguments and debates but the event was mostly peaceful. One Pride participant was charged with kissing a protester. These concerns led police to deny a festival permit to organizers this year, prompting the move to private property. The owner of the event location has said he is not concerned with potential protesters this year.

The Salisbury Pride event is the one of the most recent of several to pop up in more rural areas, including towns like Boone, Hickory and Winston-Salem. An Outer Banks Pride is held at several locations in Nags Head and Manteo.

For more information on the Salisbury Pride event, visit salisburypride.com.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.