The street in front of Rose Music Hall was filled with members attending the 15th annual Mid-Missouri PrideFest on August 24th. Vendors lined up along the street selling flags, buttons and other items to help those attending show off their pride. There were places to get covered in glitter, a booth to win prizes and a field in front of the stage where people could grab food, sit down and listen to live music.
Further into the festival, multiple community and parent organizations were there to celebrate pride including Moms Demand Action, which was there not only to celebrate pride but also to spread the word about the organization. Its members wanted to let people know that even though the word “mom” was in the name, the group was open to everyone.
“I’m a mom, I’m a nurse, I’m a school nurse. I fear for our children. I fear for everybody — especially just the gun violence that is going on … there needs to be something,” member Molly Matter said. “Everybody can be involved … it's not just moms. Men, women, young, old, students.”
As she stood in line to get into the fest, high school student Jade Schanzmeyer looked around and took in the sights. Schanzmeyer had come with a group of friends to check out PrideFest for the first time and express her support for the LGBTQ community.
“I think [PrideFest] is important because people in this community don’t have very much support,” Schanzmeyer said. “So when a lot of people can come together, it's just very empowering.”
People outside of Columbia, like Cora Winkelman, came to participate in the pride activities. Winkelman encouraged people to accept each other because no one gets to choose who they love.
“Where we are from, people are really close-minded. So, I feel like hopefully, this can open their eyes … know that there's way more people than they think that are like this,” Winkelman said.
While the Mid-Missouri PrideFest only lasted one day, the support it brought to the community will last all year round.
Edited by Janae McKenzie | firstname.lastname@example.org