Last year’s LGBTQ Pride parade and festival in Soldotna was far better attended than this year’s event on Saturday at the Soldotna Creek Park, even though the weather cooperated and there was plenty of advertising.
Although drag queen performers were brought in from Anchorage, their performances weren’t as overtly lewd this year. Last year’s raunchiness was dialed back. There was no twerking at the children in attendance. In fact, the number of children attending the LGBTQ event dropped by 75% this year.
Isaac Kolesar attended to observe the event, and he wore a shirt that proclaimed, “GROOM DOGS, NOT KIDS,” which brought many people into an uncomfortable dialogue with him.
Kolesar, who is the owner of Redemption MMA, a mixed-martial arts studio, said he bought the shirt from a company called “Gays Against Groomers,” and that his intention was to simply observe and record the LGBTQ advocacy event, which has been the subject of much controversy on the Kenai Peninsula.
Kolesar said that a couple of people became confrontational with him, and some used their bodies to physically block him so no one could see him, but for the most part people just spoke plainly to him their disapproval of his shirt’s message. He sat in a chair that the festival organizers had set up for elected lawmakers — no elected lawmakers were in attendance, however.
In an interview with Must Read Alaska, Kolesar said he often gets confused with the owners of St. Elias Brewing Company, which is what many LGBTQ activists were posting on social media during and after the event. He’s not an owner, he said. “I have no authority there, I own Redemption MMA.”
Kolesar says he agrees with many gay individuals who believe their community has been hijacked by a radical transgender agenda. He said he respects gay people and know that most of them just want to live in freedom and peace, like everyone else.
Kolesar says that the grooming of children is something that everyone should be able to agree is wrong, but many of those who approached him were hostile to him being at the event. They told him he should leave because his presence was disrespectful. And soon they started posting lies about him on Facebook. But he has everything on film, because he was really just there to document it all and bear witness on behalf of children.
Although there were several booths, including Planned Parenthood, most of them were brought in from Anchorage, and attendance was somewhat about half of what it was in 2022.
A couple of members of the Queens Guard, another group from Anchorage, allowed their firearms to be seen and were keeping an eye on Kolesar, who had left all his firearms at home. He had no intention to have his presence escalate anything except respectful exchanges of ideas.