For the fifth time, the Ames Public Library will be hosting its All Ages Drag Show where people of all ages can perform.
“The All Ages Drag Show is one of the ongoing, regular programs that the Ames Public Library puts on in collaboration with Ames Pride,” said nicci port, interim co-chair for Ames Pride. “It was created in the Ames Public Library and is the premier event for families around the idea of gender identity and expression.”
The drag show will take place from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. Saturday in the Farwell T. Brown Auditorium of the Ames Public Library.
“The first All Ages Drag Show I went to I was standing in the back with a few Ames Pride members because it was full and there was not place to sit, so we stood in the back,” port said. “I saw a toddler get a dollar from their caregiver and walk up to the stage and give the dollar to the performer. Then I just found myself bawling; I couldn’t believe I was crying at a drag show at the Ames Public Library. It was all this layering of greatness and support from families and the fact that this was happening in Iowa.”
The event is free and the Facebook event said “Drag is for everyone,” meaning everyone is invited to attend the event, no matter the age or LGBTQIA+ community affiliation.
port said the event is always packed and ends up being standing room only due to the chairs being full of attendees.
“This event provides people the first chance to play with their gender expression and perform in drag, so it is just a really unique experience for people who are supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community and people who are interested in gender expression and how they might perform that through drag,” port said.
Though the All Ages Drag show is the highlight of the night, it is not the only performance going on.
The main All Ages Drag show will go from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. and will feature professional and amateur performances.
From 7:45 to 8 p.m. is a teens-only drag performer round table where attendees can hear performers speak about how they became performers, what it takes to perform in drag and their experiences with drag, gender and performance. This will be followed by a teens-only drag show featuring professional and amateur performances from 8 to 9 p.m.
“In general, visibility is important for so many reasons,” port said. “People need to be able to be visible with their identities and gender expression so they can be who they are. Places like the Ames Public Library create a safe environment where people come to be supportive and affirming of gender expression and have a good time.”
Everyone can perform in the All Ages Drag Show, no matter age or experience. port said everyone comes to the event, from professionals and first-timers to Ames residents and Ames youth.
Known performers for the night include Jamison D. Sanchez, Demolition Deschain, Jade Knight and Ilana Logan.
port said the event often gets a lot of hate from those who do not know what a drag show is or have an inaccurate view of them. She said there is a lot of confusion about what a drag show is and who performs at one.
“What a drag show is depends on who is watching it,” port said. “For me, as a community member who actively supports gender identity and gender expression and everything about gender and sexual diversity, it is another place for me to show my support. It is a place for me to help create a safer environment for people to perform if I can provide any kind of safety for the performers as they play with this gender expression thing.”
The event is focused on fun and can be affirming for young people who want to experiment with gender expression. The event is also family-oriented and welcomes people of all ages to have fun.
“In the vacuum of LGBT affirmation and support, the Ames Public Library is a jewel of this state,” port said. “We have people who support it coming from cities outside of Ames and counties outside of Story. Ames Pride is always going to support the Ames Public Library in their endeavors to do LGBTQIA+ programming for youth and families. I am really proud to be a part of this.”