Snovalley Pride Picnic returns for second year

Founder Gregory Jamiel initiated Snovalley Pride in 2023.

By Benjamin Floyd, For the Valley Record

The local volunteer group Snovalley Pride hosted its second annual Pride Picnic at Tolt Commons in Carnation on Sunday, June 9. Community members of all ages enjoyed a wide range of live music performances, complimentary brunch from Carnation Cafe, and art-making stations.

Founder Gregory Jamiel initiated Snovalley Pride in 2023, aiming to provide accessible and integrated LGBTQ+ support systems for the Valley communities. Against the backdrop of rising discriminatory legislation and recent violent attacks, the project’s timing could not have been more opportune.

“For me personally, I don’t want any kid that’s coming up after me to feel the same way I did growing up, which was not living my true authentic self. I wasted all of those years, hiding or playing small, and I don’t want any kids doing that,” Jamiel said.

Valley locals Caspian and Jocefoxama, two young attendees, expressed delight in being able to participate in a Pride event in their hometown. Before Snovalley Pride’s establishment, many young LGBTQ+ individuals found themselves commuting to Seattle for parades and picnics. While these events hold their own significance, they can be inaccessible and overwhelming for individuals like Caspian and Jocefoxama.

“I usually do pride in Seattle … there’s not a lot of local Pride events. I’m glad to say that I will be doing this from now on. It’s so nice seeing small towns embrace the LGBTQ+ community and actually put an effort in to put something on like this, not just the cities,” Jocefoxama said.

For older LGBTQ+ community members, this gathering represents a milestone in their lifetime. Married couple Kim and Laura Bridle-Breen, residents of Carnation since 2000 and 2014, respectively, enjoyed a picnic with friends, both old and new. Together, they reflected on their shared journey of progress.

“We live in a cul-de-sac, and there was another lesbian couple across the street, and for the longest time, I thought that was it… it really wasn’t until last year that Gregory kind of pulled us together,” Kim said.

Originally from a small town near Knoxville, Tennessee, Laura recalled the joy of holding Kim’s hand in public on their first date in Edmonds, Washington. Initially apprehensive about finding acceptance as a lesbian couple in a rural town, Laura’s fears have since dissipated, largely due to leaders like Jamiel, who advocate for visibility.

“It’s just so nice to see families of all different types, all different colors, groupings, sexualities… Everybody is here for fun, and it’s fabulous! I didn’t think I would see this in my lifetime… I didn’t think I’d be able to legally marry my wife in my lifetime. All the stuff that has been happening since I was a small kid to now is just amazing,” she said.

Snovalley Pride’s upcoming event, the Summer Drag Show, is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. June 21 at Miller’s Event Space in Carnation.