Chad Rose introduced Bentley Balenciaga to the public for the first time at Quad Cities Fall Pride.
The drag performer had moved to the area from Florida and decided to compete in Miss Quad Cities Fall Pride, and while he didn't take the crown the first time around, it led to him performing more and becoming more visible in the community.
"I really just try to perform at every opportunity, especially Pride, because that's an opportunity to give back to the community that supports us," Rose said.
The second time was the charm, however, and Rose won the crown in 2021. He will crown a new Miss Quad Cities Fall Pride this weekend at the annual fall Pride festival. Quad Cities Fall Pride will take place 4 p.m.-midnight Sept. 23 and noon-midnight Sept. 24 in LeClaire Park and Bandshell, 400 Beiderbecke Drive, Davenport. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and free for children 5 and under.
People are also reading…
The Fall Pride Pageant will begin at 8 p.m. Sept. 23, and contestants will participate in three categories, co-festival director Andrew Glasscock said — Pride wear, talent and formal wear. Drag queens and kings will compete for the title of Miss or Mr. Quad Cities Fall Pride, which they will keep until next fall.
"I'm excited to have a great time and party and perform for the community," Rose said. "But also, it's a little bittersweet and sad to be stepping down and relinquishing representing the brand and the community."
Rose will perform alongside other royalty and drag artists during the festival, and burlesque shows will fill both nights. There will be live music, food and retail vendors and nonprofit booths set up throughout the weekend, and comedian Cindy Foster will perform 3 p.m. Sept 24.
Glasscock is involved in summer Pride festivities as well as Fall Pride, and said the Quad-Cities has two because the community is there wanting and supporting them. He helped found Fall Pride in 2015, then brought Summer Pride to the area a few years later.
"We're just glad to be able to have two festivals for our community, and be that opportunity for anybody that wants to truly be who they are and feel as though they're a part of this community that we have," Glasscock said.
The festival is family-friendly, which Rose said is an important aspect of Pride. LGBTQ+ youth cannot attend drag shows or other events held in adult spaces like bars and clubs, so bringing the community to them in a safe way is necessary.
Knowledge is power, Rose said, and engaging with young people can open them to new ideas and experiences, hopefully leading them to not fear what they don't know and accept all people.
"I think it's important for queer youth to have role models and people that they can see be successful and be out in the community and productive members of society so that they know there's hope for them as well," Rose said.