PrideFest draws large crowds to downtown Springfield

“There’s more understanding and acceptance and a willingness to learn (about LGBTQ culture),” he said.

Increased funding and support meant expanded programming. The weekend started with a Drag-stravaganza event at Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co. on Friday night that raised $2,000 for equality that Scott says will go back into the organization for Pride events of the year. forthcoming and other activities it supports.

Scott said people may not have known that Equality is hosting several events, including a day of remembrance in October for members of the transgender community who have been victims of violence.

One of the youngest participants was also happy with the turnout. Titus Murray, 13, describes himself as gender fluid and it has always been a welcome place to feel like himself.

“I feel safe here, like I’m at home,” he said.

Murray’s mother is responsible for scheduling the event and he always looks forward to it, saying he loves the atmosphere, meeting new people and connecting with people you think you know but don’t. don’t know.

That’s why he feels confident growing up in this community.

“You always have to be yourself. You shouldn’t have to hide yourself or your feelings,” Murray said.

Although he is not a member of the LQBTQ community, Jack Legg previously served as chair of equality to support those who are and returned on Saturday to represent his employer. He is proud to see the legacy.

“I love that it’s a place where everyone can be free and enjoy this community. I saw a lack of opportunity and didn’t want to see anyone left out,” Legg said. “It’s a real opportunity for people to express themselves.”

The plaza in the plaza boomed with music as a variety of drag performers danced in flamboyant costumes and energized the gathered crowd, which mixed people from diverse backgrounds.

Ryan and Megan Mellott from Springfield brought kids Lillian and Dylan to show their support. They were proud when Lillian recently announced the importance of welcoming people to Springfield.

“Everyone should support each other,” Megan Mellott said. “We really like the spirit here.”

The Mellotts were return visitors to PrideFest and the one thing they didn’t like was the heat, but even that couldn’t dampen the spirit, especially when cool treats were available.

After PrideFest, the fun continued at Veterans Park that night for the Summer Arts Festival presentation of ABBAmania. The weekend ended on Sunday with a Pride brunch and decades of drag shows.

Scott said this interest bodes well for the future and hopes to add more volunteer members and would like to increase sponsorship by an additional $5,000.

“We are open to anyone 18 or older. It is taking a long time but we are focused on recruiting and hope to continue building and look forward to another great year,” he said.

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David H. Henry