In an effort to expose residents of Haines to the controversial world of drag queens, the Southeast Alaska State Fair paraded six performers on its mainstage last week for an all-ages show.
The garish, cross-dressing dancers – wearing heavy makeup and sexually suggestive clothing – pranced and danced in front of children, families and others in attendance.
Led by the so-called “drag mother,” Miss Gigi Monroe, the performance was part of an ongoing tour that includes regular stops at Juneau’s gay bars, along with occasional drag queen story hours in local libraries. Photos and video images from the July 28 performance show Monroe and others dancing and twirling in silky evening gowns, fishnet stockings and bathing suits before hundreds of attendees, including young kids, some of whom offered cash tips to the performers.
The event stirred considerable controversy since being announced, earlier this summer for the 54th annual Southeast State Fair.
Despite widespread criticism, via online comments, emails and heated borough meetings, the fair board of directors chose to proceed with the entertainment, claiming that “drag is not lewd or risqué” or “adult only.” The board dismissed all parental objections as warrantless, and only belatedly agreed to move the performance from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Haines residents do have options, however. For a $35 annual dues fee they can become voting members of the Southeast Alaska State Fair, and even run to serve on the board of directors. As such, they can help shape the policies that regulate the fair’s activities and entertainment.
According to the fair’s bylaws, any person over the age of 15 can vote at a membership meeting. Those over 18 can serve on the board of directors. In order to run for office, members must simply pay their annual dues at least seven days before the annual meeting.
The next annual meeting will be held in Haines within the next six weeks, as stated in the bylaws. In order to receive notification of the upcoming meeting’s date and location, one must be a member in good standing. At the next meeting, members will have the opportunity to elect new people to serve on vacant board seats. The election will be done by ballot with each member entitled to cast one vote.
The board can consist of five to nine members who serve two-year terms. Currently, there are eight board members.
Members of the board can also be removed if 40% of the members submit a petition and two-thirds of the board agrees to remove them.
— Click here to become a voting member of the Southeast Alaska State Fair.
— Click here to read the fair’s bylaws.