Rudy’s first PrideFest was 19 years ago.
“I have the fuzziest memory. I was still in college probably a junior maybe, and I was coming here with my then boyfriend – this is my husband, not the same person – I think I remember the festive feeling of it,” Rudy says.
Jackson’s first PrideFest was in 2007. He has been coming inconsistently throughout the years, but he’s loved coming ever since.
“I don’t actually live around here anymore, so I like seeing people that I really only see at PrideFest. I like watching PrideFest change year to year. The whole demographic has changed since the first time I came here, and, in my opinion, for the better.”
Although this was their first trip to PrideFest, they were definitely making the most of their day.
“We’ve just kind of been walking around and checking out all the booths and seeing what’s going on and planning the rest of the day. We’re staying for the B-52s,” Taylor says.
Debra has been selling her colorful pride gear since last year (she makes sure her booth is as colorful and happy as possible). What brings her out to PrideFest? The people.
“You see different things when you’re out here. They had this one lady walking around here with a … I can’t say it … a balloon. That got everybody’s attention around here.”
Eric has been coming to PrideFest since last year and has loved it all … except for the weather.
“I always look forward to it. The music on Friday! They had really good music on Friday, and dancing. It was really crowded, and I liked that. I just wish it was more often … Now I have to wait a whole other year.”
As soon as they walked through the rainbow gates, they were ready to have a day.
“We just got here, but we’re super excited! We’ve never been to PrideFest before. I’m hoping for good music and a lot of pride. Just being part of the community is really fun,” Maclaren says. Chole adds “we’re excited for the drag show!”
When asked what brings them to PrideFest, Eliva says, “the freedom of everything and how you can be free. People can walk around without shirts on and just being able to be yourself.”
“It’s my first and last day here. I always come on Sundays and it’s my third year attending in a row. My favorite thing in the past has to be the rave and how you can just be free and like not feel insecure or being judged by someone else,” Anthony says.
This dynamic group of friends had a certain spunk and spirit to them that made them that much more excited to be at PrideFest.
“There’s an escape puzzle thing and I spent like 30 minutes trying to figure it out,” Brittany says. Meg chimes in, “We did solve the partner one, though!”
“I danced at the pavilion with some of my other friends for like a straight five hours yesterday. It was great, and I’m usually not confident enough to dance, so that was new,” says Alice