UNION COUNTY, N.C. — There's controversy in Union County. Many people have called for the city of Monroe to shut down a local restaurant because of their drag bingo events.
If you ask Cress Barnes or Carley Englander, the owners of East Frank Superette and Kitchen in Monroe, Saturdays are full of energy when drag queens take center stage.
“We sell out every single time we do it," Barnes said.
"We all came to this town to do something different," Englander said.
A few months back, a photo was taken of a child at one of the drag show events. Barnes said the child was in attendance with his father and was singing along with the performers.
"All of a sudden we were 'indoctrinating children and grooming children,'" Barnes said.
There still is pushback across social media. East Frank Superette and Kitchen received email threats saying the business would regret ever coming to Monroe.
"We were told by people that work for the city that people called every single day, they should not be allowed to do this," Barnes said.
Others posted online and said, "people need to show these Drag Queens, in Union County we will not tolerate screwing up our children's minds."
WCNC Charlotte spoke with Monroe Mayor Marion Holloway about the requests to shut East Frank Superette and Kitchen down. He said since the restaurant is a private business, it will stay open as long as it's not breaking any laws or ordinances.
ALSO ON WCNC CHARLOTTE: Union County offers $4,000 bonuses for existing, new teachers
Barnes said this back and forth is frustrating.
"There's a big LGBTQ community in Monroe and in Union County and so many come in and say, 'Thank you, I’m safe here,'" Barnes said.
The music will play on for now and the light isn't going out on center stage, while others want the curtain pulled.
ALSO ON WCNC CHARLOTTE: Enderly Coffee Co., based in Charlotte, makes debut on area Walmart shelves