By David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him)

Following the announcement of Downtown Tempe Authority hosting Tempe’s inaugural LGBTQ+ Pride Event, Pride Party 2023 this weekend, June 3rd from 7pm-10am. Our managing editor of sports, David “Dirk” Smith, caught up with Downtown Tempe Authority’s Director of Marketing and Communication, Tamia Scott to get the scoop on the event and learn more about the work in making it happen.

Dirk Smith (DS): Hi Tamia, thank you for taking the time to chat with me! Tell us a bit about your role with Downtown Tempe Authority and how you got involved? 

Tamia Scott (TS): I joined Downtown Tempe Authority in August of 2022 as Director of Marketing and Communications. What I do is oversee all the marketing, social media, public relations, and such as well as promoting all of our events. We do about 16 events per year, and I am in charge of promoting all those events to get the word out. Downtown Tempe Authority is actually not the City of Tempe itself, but we are an independent nonprofit organization that works very closely with the city. It’s easy to get confused so part of my goal within this role is to elevate our brand a bit more to help people have a better understanding of who we are and what we do.

DS: That’s awesome and thank you for clarifying as I was confused myself, so I appreciate you mentioning that. Are you from Tempe or how did you come about this role?

TS: Previously I was Head of Marketing for a couple of different real estate brokerages based on where I was living at the time, including San Francisco, Chicago, and greater Los Angeles. When I applied for this role, I was excited because it was a move into a different industry that represented new challenges and learning about the downtown organizations. There’s a downtown organization for every downtown who are organizing events like farmers markets, art festivals, and other events. That’s all done by your local downtown organization, and I knew someone was doing this, but I never even thought about what that looked like. Once I met with the CEO of Downtown Tempe Authority, she really inspired me and is a great leader, I really wanted to come work with her. So, to now be in this role it’s actually very exciting.

DS: It’s really great to be able to mix things up a bit and take on new challenges. With this kind of organizations, you can work more with the community and connect with members of community and it a lot more engaging and rewarding in this regard.

TS: One of the real estate companies that I worked for, we were starting a nonprofit organization within the company, and we were having trouble getting it off the ground. I stepped from my role as VP of Marketing moved into that of Executive Director for that nonprofit arm to build that up. As I was doing that, I also had a consulting business on the side where I was consulting with other nonprofits and helping them with events and marketing. This experience really developed my passion for working in the nonprofit realm and helping people have access to marketing strategies that maybe they wouldn’t normally have access to. So that’s another plus to this role with Downtown Tempe Authority is that I can channel my passion in being able to serve this community and help elevate the brand of the organization so people understand who we are and what we do.

DS: You mentioned being in Tempe for about a year now, tell me more about the work you’ve done with them?

TS: I really hit the ground running as I joined right during our heavy event season. I started in August but didn’t arrive until September. By then we were preparing for October with our Halloween Stroll. We started our Second Sunday Series that went all the way through March of this year as well. Then in November, we had our Street Parade and in December, we had a three-day Art Festival and Holiday Boat Parade, we also added a menorah lighting to our holiday events, plus the monthly Second Sunday. In January and February, we did Second Sunday and in March we had our Spring Arts Festival.

DS: Wow, that’s a lot of great stuff going on and a lot to jump right into, but it sounds like you’ve taken on the challenge quite well and successfully. From what I understand, this is the first LGBTQ+ pride event that Tempe has ever hosted?

TS: We previously had an event called Park After Dark that was a series of events throughout the previous summer 2022. One of the nights in that series was a Pride themed night, but it was on a much smaller scale. So, Pride Party 2023 we consider as our inaugural Pride event, because we have a full dedicated space for it in Centerpoint Plaza. We’re having a lot of great entertainment and events happening and it’s really exciting, because we are also internally working on creating DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), accessibility and belonging committees and programming. Part of that program and committee is to develop ways that we can make downtown Tempe a more inclusive community and get the message out that downtown Tempe is a place where people can feel like they belong, feel part of the community, feel valued and welcome. So, Pride Party 2023 is just one of the things that we are doing to fulfill that mission.

DS: Yeah, it sounds like Pride Party 2023 is going to be quite a fun festival! What all can people look forward to?

TS: Our featured performer and emcee is the legendary Barbra Seville, a local and very well-known drag performer here. She’ll be performing and hosting the big show that will feature other drag performers and artists. We’re going to have a silent disco as well which will be a lot of fun! In addition to the event, in celebration of Pride month we are painting a progressive flag crosswalk mural at the 7th and Mill and we are selling limited edition Downtown Tempe Love is LOVE pride shirts. Every year we feature a new design making the shirt a one-of-a-kind collector’s item, and $5 from every sale is donated to Mulligan’s Manor here in Tempe.

DS: That sounds absolutely wonderful! I wish I could come and attend the event with ya’ll and I am excited to hear how it goes and see the photos and videos on social media afterwards. How can people find out more information?

TS: Visit us at where you can find all the info as well as links to our social media pages.