Letter: Disappointment surrounding Albert Lea Pride events

Published 8:30 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

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I was surprised and disturbed to stumble upon an online article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, entitled “Albert Lea Pride drag show draws controversy after venue pulls out.” The article revealed that Albert Lea plans to host another “Pride Festival” with a “drag show” that will take place at the Freeborn County Historical Museum. In the article, a local business was criticized for not wanting to host such a controversial event as a drag show.

I was even more upset to read that a current Albert Lea City Council member had gone on social media and to the Minneapolis paper to publicly criticize a local business establishment (Wedgewood Cove) whose owners have contributed so much to our community and done so much to build up Albert Lea.

Council Member Rasmussen vowed in her public statements not to spend any more money at Wedgewood Cove, which I feel is totally inappropriate for a council member. How does this build up our community? I wonder if the council member is aware of how much the owners of Wedgewood Cove have done for our community. In response, I intend to increase my support for Wedgewood Cove and encourage others to do the same.

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I was equally upset to learn, from the Minneapolis paper, that the Freeborn County Historical Museum agreed to host such a controversial program as a drag show, without any input from supporters of the museum and others in the community. As a longtime supporter of the museum, I strongly object to the decision by the museum to host that event. I wonder if the board made this decision, or someone else, as it seems out of keeping with the purpose of the museum and the history of Freeborn County.
We were so pleased with everything the former director of the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau did to build up Albert Lea, promote it as a family

friendly city and provide family friendly events. I am deeply upset that the current director of the CVB, also quoted in the article, has taken all these events in the opposite direction, to be decidedly unfriendly and uncomfortable to many in the community. Claiming that drag shows and pride events will somehow build up the community and bring in more people, in my view, is mistaken.

I am also disappointed that our City Council members have approved these events. In my opinion, all residents should have a say in the kinds of events that are planned for the community. I would encourage all members of the community to make your concerns known to council members.

I am deeply dismayed that this was handled through the Minneapolis paper, and not through our own paper and community. If the goal of the Convention and Visitors Bureau is to promote Albert Lea, this kind of criticism of the city in the Minneapolis paper, and promotion of this extreme agenda, has done far more to tear down Albert Lea than to build it up.

Jan Overgaard
Albert Lea