One sticker has bright red, almost cat-eyed glasses. The lenses have the stripes of the trans flag with a lightning bolt — a nod to the Grateful Dead — crossing it through in rainbow colors. Stars surround the glasses.

“Stay sparkly,” the sticker reads. Her name is written under her glasses.

Meghan Riley Lewis.

Her loved ones are handing out stickers in the campgrounds of DelFest, an annual bluegrass festival in Cumberland. They have glitter on their hair and faces and brought trans flags and a sparkly tablecloth. They are also selling T-shirts to raise funds for an organization that Lewis loved.

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The festival — they are calling it MegFest — was supposed to pair up with the day of the trial for the man charged with fatally shooting her. It is supposed to bring closure to a community that is still piecing together what happened that night in December.

She had always wanted to come back to the festival, her friends said. She was afraid to after coming out, uncertain of how men at the festival would react.

Now her friends — many whom she met through their fandom of the Grateful Dead — want to remember her at the festival Sunday.

A trial delayed

Brian Delen, 47, was set to go on trial this week on charges of first- and second-degree murder. The trial has been rescheduled to late September.

The move is not unusual. It can take years to reach a verdict on a case with murder charges. Still, the announcement hit Lisa Eaton and Maggie Gutierrez hard. The pair, who also met each other through the Grateful Dead, have been to almost every hearing since Delen was charged.

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Gutierrez said they want someone to represent her beyond prosecutors, someone who knew Lewis.

They also want closure. The memorial they had in front of the courthouse didn’t bring that.

“It was beautiful,” Gutierrez said. Candlelight illuminated the steps to the courthouse on a frosty January night. “I’m not complaining about it — it just wasn’t enough.”

Delen is also charged with first-degree assault and use of firearm. His defense is asking the judge to exclude evidence that Delen had at least four Glock magazines, four knives, six boxes of ammunition and slingshots in his car the night Lewis was shot. He also had camping gear and an open medical kit.

Lewis’ signature red glasses were found on the passenger’s seat.

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In the same motion, his defense said Delen saw Lewis standing in front of Unit 601 on Churchill Road. After engaging in a “curt conversation concerning the delivery of food” with Lewis from his car, Delen tried to defuse a tense situation by driving forward to the next unit, his defense said. At that moment, he left his car to deliver food and Lewis walked in his direction yelling.

His defense said Lewis shoved Delen into his car — that’s when her red eyeglasses were knocked into the passenger seat — and Delen fired at Lewis out of fear. His defense said he called 911. As he waited, the defense said, he got his own emergency medical kit from his car to try to help Lewis.

Early reports from the police said Delen had asked, “Are you waiting for food delivery, sir?” and that Lewis believed he was misgendering her. The dispute escalated after Delen drove away and Lewis walked up to him in the parking lot. Delen got out of his car and fired at Lewis, hitting her in the left abdomen, police said.

She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The Deadheads

They met Lewis through social media, including when the Grateful Dead announced the Fare Thee Well tour in 2015, when the surviving members decided to go onstage one last time five decades after the band was founded. The tour drew crowds of more than 70,000 each night. Many fans were posting to a Facebook group called Ripple to try to secure tickets.

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The Facebook cohorts kept going after the end of the tour. They began fostering friendships, traveling cross country to go to festivals together, often to watch cover bands.

Her Deadhead friends were among the first people she came out to. She was a lot quieter and shier before, as if she didn’t want to draw attention to herself. That demeanor, along with her fading English accent, had once earned her the nickname “Princess” during her time in the Navy.

Lewis began opening up after she came out, sharing her transition on social media with a few people she trusted. Later, she became an open book, talking about medical procedures and her hormone therapy. She talked about the joys of being queer, the relief she felt — and it was visible. The light, which her friends say she always had, began shining through. She was funny, snarky and kind. She wanted to take care of people.

She talked violence, too, the times she felt humiliated. She talked about the fear for her safety. And there were times her safe spaces were corrupted. She had once been a veteran attendee to DelFest. Then, something happened after she came out. She hadn’t shared the details with all of her friends, though some alluded to an incident that left her uncomfortable.

The idea to go to DelFest months after Lewis was killed came to Gutierrez suddenly. She likes to think it could have come from Lewis herself.

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It won’t go exactly as she initially planned. Turnout won’t be what she had imagined, with people flying from out of state to the campgrounds in Cumberland.

Guttierrez had seen the festival pairing up with the trial, which she hopes will bring justice for those who love Lewis. She has asked musicians to dedicate a song to her Sunday.

One friend has been coordinating the sale of T-shirts, with all the proceeds going to Baltimore Safe Haven, a trans-led wellness center and community organization that Lewis supported. Another friend has designed stickers they will give away. They pooled all of their “Grateful Dead superpowers” together, Gutierrez said.

Lewis is pushing her on, Gutierrez said, and she is happy.

“She’s so happy that we’re doing this because now she can be there with us,” Gutierrez said.

Not long after Lewis came out, one of the women asked if they could add her to another group on Facebook— the Grateful Sisters.

“It was a resounding yes,” Eaton said.

The women were there throughout Lewis’ transition, Stacie Highland said, cheering each other on in a community of misfits. She was used to designing artworks and graphics for friends in times of grief and sickness, either as a way to honor them or raise money for their families.

When a friend suggested she work on a graphic for Lewis, Highland didn’t hesitate. She had spent months in anger, but as she began designing a graphic, for a few moments, it all dissipated.

“I felt love,” she said. “I wanted to do something that would reflect her love.”

Eaton used to drive from her home in Northern Virginia to concerts with Lewis and their friends, meeting at a now-closed club that hosted Grateful Dead cover bands. She often found herself in a corner with Lewis, giggling with her.

She and Gutierrez, who also lives in Virginia, will drive again this weekend for the festival. Lewis used to sit on the camping grounds and drink mimosas on Sunday morning. Musicians stopped by to chat with her.

It has been a long time since Lewis attended DelFest. Gutierrez said she will reunite with friends she hasn’t seen in years. They might tell them about Lewis, not much different from how Eaton does in her classroom.

She has a photo of her friend — one she got from the vigil — in her classroom. Her students have heard her story, she said, and ask about her. Once in a while, they ask their teacher if Eaton is doing OK.

“They know that that’s a part of my heart,” Eaton said.

Gutierrez said they might also keep the moment more private.

“Maybe on Sunday we can have our own little circle and celebrate Meghan,” she said. “And tell our stories about her.”