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Drag Queen Story Hour Encourages Diversity and Exploration

(The Triangle Trend) — In June of 2019, after the urging and advocacy of Mary Elise Chenoweth of Clayton, the first Drag Queen Story Hour Raleigh was held at Medicine Mama’s Farmacy. Drag Queens Satine Allure and Amazing Grace read to a throng of delighted children, parents, and friends. The resounding success (i.e. standing room only attendance) of this inaugural event wasn’t expected or fleeting. Just two months later, Medicine Mama’s had to divide the Drag Queen Story Hour Raleigh into three different seatings. They were all sold out. 

These engaging, interactive events feature guest drag queens who read books, sing songs, play games like Simon Says, sometimes lead a small crafting session, dole out baked goods (expertly prepared by Drag Queen Emory Starr), and always end with a joyful, celebratory dance. The atmosphere is replete with balloons and sparkle and positivity. It’s worth noting that the very first Drag Queen Story happened in San Francisco in 2015. To the uninitiated, this unconventional story hour has a very conventional mission statement: to promote acceptance and inclusion for kids and adults who are different. 

The Drag Queen Story Hour Raleigh flourished. Medicine Mama’s hosted one every month and other story hours were scheduled at places like the Green Monkey and Good Times. They even garnered the WRAL Voters Choice Award 2019 as one of the best family-friendly events. The Drag Queen Story Hour Raleigh’s robust social media presence and acceptance into one of the chapters of the International Drag Queen Story Hour only served to underscore the success of 2019. 

That success carried through to the early part of 2020 with the last, live story hour held on March 8. Then came the pandemic and all live events were canceled. Fortunately, the move to a virtual story hour didn’t take long. The first one was held in April at Larry’s Coffee. In addition to reading stories to the children, they added a tour of the coffee bean plant. Needless to say, moving such an engaging and interactive event to a virtual platform required a learning curve and a willingness to evolve, adapt, adjust. 

Some of the story hours have been streamed live while others were recorded and streamed at a later date. The required editing of the recorded content is a work in progress. One of the interesting outcomes of the move to virtual was a natural partnership with the local community. This partnering is a win-win as it allows the Drag Queen Story Hour Raleigh to showcase local vendors and businesses while still providing a venue for the core mission. 

The Drag Queen Story Hour Raleigh looks forward to returning to local venues around Wake County once the pandemic lifts. In the meantime, the virtual version continues to evolve and provide the community with a wonderfully different way to celebrate being wonderfully different.

To learn more, visit their website or find them on Facebook and Instagram.

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