When the band of drag queens, LGBTQ activists and their followers descend on Soldotna this coming Saturday for a gay pride march and public celebrations of sexual identities, they will be met by a group of concerned citizens.

The June 3 “Pride in the Park,” has become an annual event in which radical LGBTQ activists parade through town exhibiting myriad sexualities before gathering at a local park for variety shows that include sexually suggestive drag queen dancers, costume contests and the celebration of “queer joy for all ages.”

Last year’s event sparked heated controversy after a video of Anchorage drag queen Brenden Badd went viral. It shows a man wearing a costume that appears to be a miniskirt and a thong as he twerks and does backflips in front of young children. Another performances included Badd in a leather miniskirt gyrating just a few feet in front of minors.

In the weeks following last year’s incident, concerned citizens flooded the Soldotna City Council chambers demanding that they limit lewd displays of public behavior in city parks. After multiple meetings, the council ultimately declined – in a 4-2 vote – to place new restrictions on the Pride in the Park performances.

Longtime local conservative activist Toby Burke is now working to assemble a group of parents, grandparents, families and other concerned residents to stage a counter protest.

The idea of letting drag queens perform before for kids was developed in 2015 by LGBTQ activists in San Francisco.

“The town fathers in Soldotna are very weak about this,” Burke said. “They are going to let them get on stage and twerk in front of kids in one of the biggest playgrounds and park in the city.”

Over the past year, Burke and others have argued before the city council that the local government has the lawful authority to regulate specific types of speech in public spaces.

“There are certain types of free speech that can be heavily regulated, just like exotic, sexual dancing that can only be in certain places at certain times,” Burke said. “Access has to be limited, usually in enclosed buildings with no children allowed.”

The idea of letting drag queens perform before for kids was developed in 2015 by LGBTQ activists in San Francisco with the launch of drag queen story hours – a concept that has since spread all over the country. Over the past few months, however, backlash against these shows – especially those targeting children – has led several states such as Florida and Tennessee, to enact restrictions on when and where drag queens and can perform.

“We’ve made this argument many times to the Soldotna City Council and all we get is blank stares,” Burke said of other places which have regulated drag performances. “They basically don’t want to do anything. A lot of us testified and wrote letters to the council saying that this is about public decency. They keep falling back – saying that as long as aren’t taking their clothes off on stage, then it’s legal.”

Last year was the first time Burke could recall there being a public drag queen performance in Soldotna.

“The vast majority of citizens do not want this event to go on. We do not want drag queens, and we’ve never had them in any of our libraries,” he said. “This is the first place it has happened because they were flying under the radar, but because the council isn’t going to do anything about it, now they are going to perform right out in the open.”

The LGBTQ activists will begin their march at 12 p.m. at the Soldotna Sports Center. From there, they will wave rainbow flags and carry signs as they walk 1.7 miles to Soldotna Creek Park. From 1-5 p.m. Pride in the Park will unfold with food, music, costume contests and at least four scheduled drag performers.

The counter protesters plan to assemble on Saturday, June 3, at 11:45 a.m. They will gather at the Funny River Light on the intersection of Kalifornsky Beach Road and the Sterling Highway. Eventually, they will set up at Soldotna Creek Park, where the LGBTQ parade ends.

“I really feel that it is our duty, if our town fathers are going to fail us, then we have to step in the breach and do the right thing,” Burke said.


— For more information about the counter protest, contact Toby Burke at (907) 335-1558.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Soldotna protesters mobilizing against ‘lewd’ drag dancers at June 3 ‘Pride’ fest

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Diana H. Graf says:

    Go Soldotna Go!!! Vote those doormats out.

  • Lucinda says:

    Pearls meet clutch.

  • micah6v8 says:

    Good Luck to Toby Burke and the good people of Soldotna. Props for protecting your community and your kids.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Finally people standing up to this nonsense
    Let’s us all pray for these sick individuals

  • StopTheMadnesz says:

    Will we do this in Anchorage when the pride parade comes through on June 24?

  • Livingmy Ownlife Youdoyou says:

    Don’t take your kids if you don’t want your kids to go. Stop trying to dictate what events other people take their kids to. Simple, and everyone operates within their own value system. Your rights end at the top of my nose.

    • Ceak says:

      It’s a man dressed in a thong, dancing infront of children at a public park. Some events should be marked 18+. I think drag performances should be under the same umbrella as strippers. Adults only.

    • Aunt Sally says:

      Why is it so difficult for you monkeypox magnets to figure out that normal people find you and your abominable behavior disgusting but at least marginally tolerable as long as you and the rest of your disturbed kind stay in your closets, stay away from kids, and refrain from spreading your nasty diseases to the rest of us?

      • Lucinda says:

        Mr Sally: why be such a jerk? You are consumed by Christian hate.

      • Anon says:

        Lucinda. It seems as though you are consumed with hating Christian’s
        Where’s the love you claim to have

    • Soldotnan says:

      We the members of the public have every right to decide what kind of activities we are willing to accept or endure in our public spaces, and we don’t want to endure men in womanface shaking their booties for us while going about our business in town or enjoying our park. Your fetishes can end when you step out your front door into the public spaces we all want to enjoy.

    • FreedomAK says:

      Hey Youdo you. We ARE operating within our own value systems. And our values dictate no one gets victimized by anyone else. When you direct your sexual preference activities at children, then that conflicts with my value system and I will intervene. Simple enough? Stop recruiting little children into your sex life choices and I can live and let live. Understood?

    • Paul says:

      “Don’t take your kids if you don’t want your kids to go”? So in your world don’t allow your kids the enjoyment of the park if you don’t want them indoctrinate with this hogwash? How mean.Paul

  • Neil A DeWitt says:

    I’m proud Soldotna is fighting back. How about not issuing the license for this to happen at all? If it’s ok in the park in public why not just open tge doors on the Bush Company and let kids in their too? Isn’t that where thus is all headed anyway? We have this sick bunch of people backed by liberals in power and this will be tge only way to fight back until election day comes again if ever. I’ve heard liberal are trying to stop voting all together so they stay in power. My crystal ball shows a civil war if that happens.

  • jon says:

    Drag queens aren’t going to hurt you. The far right is filled with hate for anything different from them. They are cancelling everything. Soon there won’t be anything left for them to do. LOL.

    • 420 says:

      After you cancelled, syrup, butter, rice and children’s toys you still don’t see the hypocrisy.

    • Ceak says:

      the left and right both take part in canceling, so you can’t say it’s just a “far right” thing. It all should come from a place of love though. Love doesn’t mean we have to let drag queens perform for children. That wouldn’t be loving.

      • Michael says:

        Since nobody is forced to stay there and watch the show, I respectfully disagree with you. Drag performances are tailored to the audience. They don’t make overtly sexual comments in front of children like they do at adult shows at bars. A couple seconds of twerking in a 5 minute dance routine isn’t anything thats harming a child. An adult doing splits or backflips is not harmful to anyone. Have you seen what kids watch on TV? I dont just mean now…70s, 80s, 90s, 00s. Childrens shows are chock full ofsexism, racism, mysoginy, Sexual inuendo, gun violence, and a ton of other crap. Where is your outrage to ban bugs bunny, whos been dressing in drag for 50 years. The truth is the only group you hate is the lgbt ones. So they are the ones you try to demonize and call pedos and groomers. Its never been about the children and everybody knows it.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Michael, every bit of pedo exposure hurts children. You are twisting the truth to make what the demons are doing sound not bad. Every bit of what the demons are doing is bad for children and for the future of humanity. Stop lying to the people and projecting what you are doing as not bad.

  • 439 says:

    Sure a lot of Satanic hate coming from these drag queens and “pride” people. Hate towards children who don’t need to be subjected to this Satanic cult behavior.

  • Lucinda says:

    Yes love. I love the idea that if you aren’t into silly men in goofy costumes, the DON’T ATTEND. And I love the idea that you should just leave us the hell alone.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Isn’t it amazing that you can make demands from humanity-loving people and expect them to bend to your demands, but it is not okay for humanity-loving people to want to protect their children from these “silly men in goofy costumes?” Two sets of standards here apparently. What is good for Lucinda and her buddies is good for everyone. What everyone else feels is not good for their children is not allowed. Always so interesting how this works.

  • George says:

    These homosexuals are the most selfish people on the planet. This is obvious. They don’t even give a … if they are hurting kids, not a bit.

  • River says:

    There were about 30 protesters and 300 people in the parade.The parade wasn’t the problem.The problem was the organizations that were in the park promoting this psychological operation on the children there.

  • steve says:

    Fire the city manager

  • Fallen Republic says:

    The sacrificing of children innocence in public, Immorality, high crime, spending other people’s money on stupid activities. how long can this go on? This is not Freedom. as a long life Alaskan, America is a third world country