You’re lucky if you can steal 10 minutes away from Thomas W. Carrier this week. Along with working his full-time gig running a financing website, he’s busy putting the finishing touches on the second annual Louisville Pride Festival, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 17, in the Highlands.
Carrier, 34, is chairman of the board for the event and — together with his seven other volunteer board members — is working night and day to make sure this year’s Louisville Pride is just as successful as last year’s, which attracted thousands of people to the Baxter Avenue/Bardstown Road corridor.
Louisville’s other LGBTQ celebration, the Kentuckiana Pride Festival, takes place downtown in June each year, but Carrier and his crew felt there was room for another, especially one located in one of Louisville’s most accepting and open neighborhoods.
“I have been to a lot of ‘Prides’ in other cities and always felt there was a place for a neighborhood-style street festival for LGBTQ in Louisville,” says Carrier. “What’s great about a street festival is you end up getting people who participate who didn’t even plan to participate, and I think that engagement with our neighbors is an important part of what Pride is.”
Louisville Pride takes place from noon-11 p.m. from Highland to Beechwood avenues and includes arts and crafts booths, food trucks and tents, two stages, a family zone, multiple bars, informational and community organization booths, a giant dance dome and much, much more. Headliners this year include ’80s ballad belter Taylor Dayne, R&B singer Mya, and “American Idol” star Rayvon Owen.
Carrier says it’s hard to name exactly what he’s looking forward to the most, but as long everything runs smoothly and people come together to celebrate Pride and have a good time, he’ll be happy.
“Looking out at the crowd and seeing the sea of smiling faces with beers and bourbon in hand, just enjoying the day and being together is what affects me the most,” he says. “Last year, I admit I had tears when I first saw the crowd … I didn’t realize what seeing so many people together in support of each other would mean to me until I saw it with my own eyes. I’ll never forget it.”
We managed to steal just a few minutes of Carrier’s time to ask him some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
I’d still love to teach music when I retire, maybe voice coaching. I also want to actually finish writing a song on my piano and play it for someone special.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
Oh no … haha! I had maps everywhere … but fictional maps from books and games all over my walls. Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy III (or VI if you are a nerd), Narnia, Middle Earth, Dragonlance … tons of them. The nerdier the better. I still love collecting maps … I just don’t hang them all over my walls now.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
I would give the key to Ryan Phillips. He is the most amazing conduit of positive energy and good vibes I have ever met. Every time I see him, I leave feeling like my day is brighter. His work with the Derby City Sisters is inspiring, and Louisville is lucky to have him and that group making a difference.
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
I love Chicago-style pizza, which to me is basically tons of cheese on the bottom with god-knows-what in the middle (everything) and then tons of cheese and little bit of sauce on top. It comes out looking like it has nothing on it actually. But if done correctly, you can stretch one piece across the entire room without it breaking. Now I’m hungry.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
This might sound strange, because it is “work,” but I’d love to be 26 again. That was the year I got to work on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and it was one of the most exciting and fulfilling years of my life. If I weren’t working on Pride, I’d be doing it again this time around.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
I don’t think people ever tell me I look like anyone famous.
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?
If I’m stuck on an elevator, I’d probably want to keep calm by singing, and who better to sing with than the beautiful … err talented … singer Zayn Malik.
(I mean, just listen to him.)