Op-ed: Hop Knot Celebrates Last Day of Pride with Big Gay Brunch Drag Show

Op-ed: Hop Knot Celebrates Last Day of Pride with Big Gay Brunch Drag Show

By Winter Trabex

July 8, 2024

On the last day of Pride month, June 30th, the Hop Knot in Manchester hosted a brunch event featuring four drag performers. The event was organized by Big Gay Events, who will celebrate their first anniversary in business on July 21st at the same location. 

Fans started filing in when the Hop Knot opened at 10 AM, ordering a variety of alcoholic beverages and pretzel sandwiches while the performers prepared for the show. Despite the Hop Knot being a small location with limited seating, the fans in attendance were nonetheless rowdy and generous with one dollar bills.

This event was one of a series of drag events put on by the Hop Knot, which has made it a regular feature as part of their business model. The owner, Kenny Frasch, has made a point of making his business as LGBT+ friendly as possible.

“That’s just what we do,” Frasch said. “We do it all the time at the Hop Knot. It’s always the best days for us. Business-wise and energy-wise, the drag shows always bring it. Especially right now, it’s more important to throw drag in people’s faces because of all the stuff that’s going around legality-wise in the country. It’s important for us, for all these people, for our performers to get their coin. Gay people and trans people deserve to be paid during Pride.”

Big Gay Event’s first event was a drag show put on by a performer named Pancake. The group helped out with Pancake’s performance last year. They have been business partners ever since.

“We’ve been involved in a total of 15 events [during Pride month],” Big Gay Events co-owner Philip Smith said. “Counting drag shows, I think this is number six or seven.”

“It’s amazing. We’ve been open since July 2023,” Alex Ralph, also a co-owner of Big Gay Events said. “We have been working with the drag shows, working with the community since then. It has been a great experience. It’s been a lot of fun.”

“It’s been so good,” Smith said. “I recently moved to Manchester in the last couple of years. It was a very different experience from living in Portland. It feels like it’s just as strong here as it is in Portland, just more active. It’s really awesome getting involved with the drag community, with other queer communities here in Manchester and to see the support, to see people come out for the shows.”

Pancake, along with their fellow performers Chi Chi Marvel, Onyx Reigns, and Veronica LaForce, danced with energy and verve. They credited their performance to being tired and wanting to give everything she had. After the show, they confessed, they wanted to go right to bed and rest. As a performer for Manchester’s yearly Pride fest event, Pancake spent most of the day marching, performing, and entertaining.

“It was my first time being on the Manchester Pride stage,” Pancake said. “It was so phenomenal to see so many people come out and support us. I had so many people coming up to me during the show and after letting me know, ‘I don’t feel like I can be myself, but coming here and seeing what’s going on, I feel so in tune to my identity. I feel so true to who I am. I’m going to start being more authentic with myself.’ That was just was so rewarding, so amazing, and phenomenal.”

Two weeks later, when they returned to do another performance in Manchester, they experienced a similar positive response.

“Today was amazing,” Pancake said. “As drag performers, as those who work for most of Pride, it is exhausting. It is still so rewarding. We still get to do so much for the community. This is our big send-off of Pride. We really wanted to just have a great show, have fun, have people come out and just have a good time.”


  • Winter Trabex

    Winter Trabex is a freelance reporter who has been living in Manchester since 2016. She primarily works for Manchester Ink Link, but also takes odd jobs with the Associated Press. She covers politics, economics, homelessness issues, and women's tackle football.

Related Stories
Share This