Spotty rain showers weren’t enough to keep New Braunfels’ inaugural Pride block party from taking place Thursday evening.
Acting as the rainbow at the end of the storm, the first Pride NB Block Party celebrating LGBTQ community members and allies took place at the River City Advocacy and Counseling Center on Landa Street early Thursday evening. Hundreds came out for the event despite a start-time rain delay, surpassing the expectations the RCA’s event organizers.
Crowding around dozens of activity tents, a couple of food trucks, an open yoga area and a few picnic tables, attendees were able to listen to a live band while communing with others of the LGBTQ community and supporters.
“I think this just really is a testament to the need in this community for an event like this,” said RCA Outreach and Development Director, event creator and organizer Tiffany Quiring.
Quiring decided to create the event after searching for a New Braunfels Pride event to attend and finding there wasn’t one.
“Since June is Pride month, we looked for an event at the beginning of June and realized there wasn’t one here,” Quiring said. “The closest ones were in Austin, San Antonio and San Marcos, but there wasn’t anything happening for Pride in New Braunfels.”
Just earlier this spring, Quiring created the LGBTeen peer support group at the RCA, to give LGBT teens in New Braunfels a safe place to talk.
“I have a special place in my heart for these kids, especially one of them who I’ve become very close with,” Quiring said. “And I wanted them to have an event in their own community that they could go to and be around friends.”
Planning the event was very easy — Quiring said the moment she posted word of the block party, dozens of businesses and organizations reached out to her asking if they could have a tent.
“I didn’t have to reach out to a single vendor,” Quiring said. “Everyone here chose to be here and reached out to me to ask how they could be a part of it.”
As a gay and trans young person in New Braunfels, Ray Webb said he was really excited to see the event get created and have such a positive response.
“I think this is really awesome,” Webb said. “I haven’t ever seen this kind of response to an LGBT event in New Braunfels.”
New Braunfels native and LGBT supporter Carolina Kuhn has a daughter who likes to dress in “boy clothes” and brought her daughter Emily, 9, to the event to show her she can dress however she likes.
“We wanted to support Emily,” Kuhn said cheerfully, decked out in rainbow and tie-dye, while Emily rocked rainbow angel wings and an ‘Ask me my pronoun’ pin.
Alan Raderstorf, another New Braunfels native, said after coming out in 2015, he’s really glad to see his home community supporting LGBT rights.
“I’ve been to pride events in Austin and those were fun, but it’s really great to have one in our own backyard,” Raderstorf said.
As an LGBTQ community supporter and friend of Quiring’s, Jon Walske said he came out to support everyone who attended.
“I thought it was awesome New Braunfels is doing an event like this,” Walkse said. “We’re all really proud of Tiffany for creating it.”
After the raging success of the inaugural New Braunfels Pride event, Quiring said there will definitely be an event next year as well.
“We definitely plan to have it again next year — this is the first annual,” Quiring said. “People can start reaching out to me today, we want next year’s even to be more — bigger, better, more love.”