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[EASTOWN] Rain can't stop first annual Network Neighborhood Bash

Network Neighborhood Bash crowd

Network Neighborhood Bash crowd

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A little Saturday morning rain brought nothing but rainbows on Atlas Street as Eastown neighbors and area lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans (LGBT) advocates gathered to celebrate the first annual Network Neighborhood Bash. The bash is a fundraising event for the Lesbian and Gay Community Network of Western Michigan (343 Atlas Avenue SE) and featured live performances and a silent auction. Local businesses and community organizations (including the Rapidian) tabled information booths up and down Atlas Street.
The Network is an all-volunteer LGBT advocacy organization. Drew Stoppels, the Network’s marketing director, began organizing the event a little over four months ago.  There were more than 20 vendors at the event.
“We’re trying to encourage dialogue in the LGBT community in Grand Rapids,” Stoppels said. “I want there to be more visibility; I feel like sometimes in west Michigan, it’s easy to have the mentality of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”
“I think Grand Rapids is changing socially,” Stoppels added. “It's ready for a street fair to complement the pride fest.”
Almost 30 items were up for silent auction at the block party. Items ranged from gift certificates for Yesterdog and local gay bars to a purple iPod Nano and tickets for the sold-out Melissa Etheridge concert at Meijer Gardens.
Performers included Whitney Dawn, from Traverse City, the fire-eating women of Miss Pussykat’s Daredevil Circus, DJ Digimark and a Drag performance.
The bash goes until 7:00pm
Additional reporting by Denise Cheng.

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