All the colors of the rainbow will be on display this autumn in Door County. In addition to the spectacular display of foliage that marks DC’s “fall color” season, the tourist destination will be the scene of a historic mass commitment ceremony on Sat., Sept. 21, when the leaves are beginning to change.
The ceremony, scheduled to take place on the waterfront at Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay, is the centerpiece of a weekend of events Sept. 20–22 titled “Commit with Pride.” The Rev. Richard Feyen, pastor at Hope United Church of Christ in Sturgeon Bay, will officiate.
County tourism officials say the purpose of the event is to promote tourism within a popular market niche by doing something that’s supportive of that niche.
The neighboring states of Iowa and Minnesota extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, and Illinois is on the cusp of taking similar action. But Wisconsin voters enacted a constitutional ban on both same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2006.
Since then, popular support for marriage equality has mushroomed around the nation and the world. But it would take a decade or more to change the state Constitution again. Republicans, whose party officially opposes all rights for LGBT people, gained a virtual lock on the Legislature through 2020 by gerrymandering political boundaries in their favor.
Door County has no official stance on the issue, but the Door County Visitors Bureau “believes this promotion is socially responsible, and it makes good business sense,” said Jack Moneypenny, DCVB president and CEO in a press release announcing the event. “It creates a place for loving couples to publicly commit to one another, and we’ve scheduled it during a period when Door County can use more business.”
“This new promotion comes on the heels of successful niche advertising campaigns to the LGBT travel market over the past few years,” Moneypenny added.
An evening rehearsal will kick off the weekend at 6 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 20. Following the next day’s ceremony at 4 p.m., there will be a cake and champagne/punch reception. An optional hors d’oeuvre dinner reception will also be available, followed by a cash bar reception featuring music and dancing.
The events, to be held at Stone Harbor Resort, are open to participating couples, their families and friends.
Couples who register for the event online will receive complimentary ceremony flowers, a commitment certificate, a $25 Door County gift certificate and a bottle of champagne.
Registration and details can be found online at DoorCounty.com/Commit. Participation is limited to the first 250 couples that register.
Special Commit with Pride weekend getaway packages also are being offered at select lodging properties around the county. Area attractions, restaurants and retailers have also put together special packages and offerings for participating couples.
Details about packages and specials can be found online, also at DoorCounty.com/Commit.