Drag Performers Rule Over Convergence Ciderworks as Part of Decorah’s Pride Celebration


Chicago-based drag performer Finn strikes a pose during the Decorah Pride drag show September 30. Photo courtesy of Olivia Gustafson (‘25).

It was a night of celebration as drag queens and drag kings took the stage on Convergence Ciderworks’ patio on Friday, September 30. The crowd was treated to extravagant outfits, carefully choreographed dances, and overflowing pride. 


The show marked the second night of festivities for the 2022 Decorah Pride celebration. Drag—a type of performance where people dress up and perform in highly stylized ways, often presenting themselves differently than their gender—is a hallmark of many pride celebrations. Associate Professor of Philosophy and Identity Studies and Decorah Pride Planning Committee Co-Chair Holly Moore began the night of performances by speaking about the history of Pride in Decorah.

“Pride got started in this town because we queers got tired of people tearing down our flags,” Moore said. “It was a response to some real aggression against us, and we thought, ‘you know what, there’s a lot of us here. We need to get together, and we need to make it clear that this entire community loves us.’”


During the three-hour show, six performers took the stage. Each one had a connection to Decorah, or was a returning Luther alum coming back from Minneapolis, Chicago, or Des Moines. The show was divided into three sets, with children encouraged to attend the first set. 


The first performer to take the stage was the event’s MC Prunella DeVille, a graduate of Decorah High School. After her initial song and monologue on the history of Pride as a riot, she pulled out her pronoun chart to correctly identify the other five drag performers: Finn, Helvetikah Blak, Mo B. Dick, Muff Daddy, and Poppy Fielding.


Many in the crowd had dollar bills to hand off to the queens and kings as the first set got underway. The only delay between songs was the time it took for volunteers to gather up the loose money to prevent the next performer from slipping. Leroy Smith (‘16) attended the show and volunteered to check tickets and help audience members navigate the celebration. He points to the importance of supporting the LGBTQ+ community through the art of drag. 


“If you can support your queer, trans, gay, bi, and all your friends in any sort of way, I think it’s great,” Smith said. “The performance aspect is such a coveted art, so to see things like this happen is special.”


Each six-song set was separated by a 10-minute intermission for performer outfit changes. As the second set began, parents with young children were reminded that viewer discretion was advised. The performances became even more extravagant with Finn lip-syncing to MARINA’s “Oh No!” with a chainmail headpiece, cape, and sword. Siri Hokanson (‘26) attended the show and commented on the energy of the performances. 


“It has been absolutely fabulous,” Hokanson said. “I love the energy, and all of the performers have been amazing.”


The drag show came to an end with a dance party and a meet-and-greet with the performers. The weekend’s Pride festivities continued Saturday with Pride Yoga, the Pride Parade on Water Street, and a party in the park. In the midst of the weekend’s festivities, Moore reminded the audience of what Pride is about. 


“You know pride is a riot, right?” Moore said. “It starts and ends in protest, and everything in between is just fabulousness.”