Tim Nedoba always dreamed of having a Pride Festival in Coralville, one that would be held when University of Iowa students would be around to attend.
There would be vendors gathered and good food to eat, Nedoba said to the Press-Citizen, and it would be set in the growing suburbs around Iowa City.
Five years since that initial imagining, Nedoba is finally seeing it come to fruition Sunday.
The first Coralville Pride Festival begins at noon at Tavern Blue, the newly opened restaurant and entertainment venue on Second Street.
Coralville Pride Festival has everything Nedoba hoped for: vendors, good food and a date during the UI school year.
“That was the real idea, premise, behind it was to do something when the university community and students would be around and be able to participate in a local Pride fest,” said Nedoba, the event coordinator.
With most Pride festivals taking place in June — Iowa City Pride recently held its event in October after years of taking place during the summer — Nedoba wanted one that students could join in.
Though Coralville Pride has faced setbacks, from the COVID-19 pandemic to a change in date and venue, Nedoba credits the sponsors of the festival for making Sunday’s event happen.
“It’s been an amazing journey for five years, and we’ll see what happens,” Nedoba said.
What’s planned at the Coralville Pride Festival
Reach Out Marketing, owned by Neboda, is the official producer of Coralville Pride Festival.
There will be about 20 vendor and information booths from noon through 5 p.m., including Johnson County Department of Public Health, the Iowa Heartlanders hockey team and more.
From 2-3 p.m., there will be a presentation of the Pride Honor Roll, an annual list published by GoGuide Magazine, a publication serving the LGBTQ Iowa community.
Nedoba is the publisher and executive editor of the magazine and said it recognizes people and organizations who’ve had a significant impact on the local LGBTQ community.
“Now there’s a venue in which we can bring those people somewhere together at one time and present them with a little certificate, but recognize people publicly for all the good work that they do,” Nedoba said.
This year’s Pride Honor Roll class includes executive director of FilmScene Andrew Sherburne, executive director of the Hancher Auditorium Chuck Swanson and eight other recipients.
At 4 p.m., a local community circus troupe will perform, followed by a concert by the Old Capitol Chorus at 5 p.m.
Then, the longtime Iowa City-based band The Recliners will take the stage from 6-8 p.m.
Throughout the event, Tavern Blue will be selling food from its entire menu as well as serve Pride-related specials, including Pride Fest Pizza and a rainbow cocktail, co-owner Karim Malek said an email to the Press-Citizen.
Parking will be available at Tavern Blue, but Nedoba said there will be festival volunteers directing festival-goers to nearby lots as needed.
Face masks will be provided to those who choose to wear one, and there will be hand sanitizing stations throughout Tavern Blue. The vendor booths will be socially distanced as well.
Donations go to UI Health Care LGBTQ Clinic
The festival is free to attend, though small donations are welcomed.
The donations to the Coralville Pride Festival are going to the UI Health Care LGBTQ Clinic, which is staffed by health care workers who’ve undergone LGBTQ-specific training to make sure the space is welcoming and affirming.
According to Nedoba, the festival has a goal to raise $60,000 for the clinic, though he anticipates it’ll take more than one year to reach that amount.
These donations can be used toward additional training and education for providers and fund social workers or care navigators assisting LGBTQ patients, according to Coralville Pride Festival’s website. Donations can also be used to directly impact patients in financial need who otherwise may not be able to buy personal items related to their health.
Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle and arts at the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Reach her at [email protected] or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.