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Thew Brewing Company fundraiser for Tanager Place LGBTQ Youth Center draws the attention of local media

Feb 11, 2020 | Life | 0 comments

Overstated headlines at KCRG.com caught the attention of GoGuide Magazine.

Breaking news – February 11, 2020

By Tim Nedoba

Cedar Rapids, IA – In a headline on KCRG.com, “Brewery receives push-back for planned ‘kid-friendly drag bingo’ event,” paints an unclear image of the fundraiser at Thew Brewing Company. Thew Brewing, located at 301 2nd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, hosted the event on February 8 and raised more $3900 in online donations over $5K in tota donations. The article from KCRG went on to say, “A planned “kid-friendly drag bingo” event at Thew Brewing Company in Cedar Rapids has some people in eastern Iowa concerned.”

In a statement from Thew Brewing, “The outpouring of support from the Cedar Rapids and Corridor communities has been absolutely incredible, and we are more proud than ever to make our home and business here.”

From their website Tanager LGBTQ Youth Center, “The Center provides a safe and confidential environment for LGBTQ youth, families and allies. Programs at the Center are diverse and include support groups, special art offerings, a mentoring program, Pride Café, community service, health initiative classes, parent workshops, financial literacy, tutoring, and career exploration.” The Center is located on the lower level of The Estle Center, 1030 5th Avenue SE., Cedar Rapids.

GoGuide Magazine reached out to Threw Brewing Company and received the following statement from Haley Flenker of Threw Brewing:

“Last summer, a friend who is a drag performer and I teamed up to host drag bingo in our taproom to support the Tanager Place LGBTQ Youth Center (where he also volunteers). At that time, kids from the Center expressed interest in attending, and we were unable to accommodate them. We decided that when we did drag bingo again (the first one was successful beyond our expectations – we raised almost $1500 for the Center), we would have an early show so the kids could attend.

We made the 21+ event for February 8th public, and for the show for Tanager, we created a private (free) registration link and did not create a Facebook event. We wanted to ensure that we were able to accommodate the kids from the Center. Last Wednesday, another group created a Facebook event, and that’s when the crazy backlash started. 

At no point did we consider canceling. For the most part, the hateful comments and reviews we received were coming from outside our community. I was prepared for protesters but not necessarily expect them. The police department shift commanders were aware of what was going on, but we did not have a police presence. Someone from Per Mar Security volunteered to come out and stayed until the silly protesters had left. 

I want to be very clear that the safety of the kids was our first priority. This was all about providing them with a safe, fun experience to be themselves. I rallied my troops (who then rallied their troops) to create a welcoming committee and Line the Walk was born. More than 100 people showed up with rainbow flags and signs to line the sidewalks. Someone had donated sidewalk chalk, so our volunteers wrote welcoming messages on the sidewalk. We rolled out a red carpet that the kids walked in on. It was truly special. 

As for the event itself, the kids and their families and allies loved it. It went better than I ever could have dreamed, and I hope that we were able to show them that love conquers hate. 

The 21+ show was wildly successful as well. We have raised well over $5K so far, and online donations through our Facebook fundraiser continue to roll in. The outpouring of support from the Cedar Rapids and Corridor communities has been absolutely incredible, and we are more proud than ever to make our home and business here. “

Editors note – photo’s courtesy Thew Brewing Company

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