SLV Pride celebrates its inaugural PrideFest

The blast of rainbow colors coming from Cole Park on Saturday signaled the beginning of the SLV PrideFest, the day-long event that spread messages of love and acceptance. Hundreds of people came out to enjoy the live entertainment, three dozen vendors, almost two dozen sponsors and a kid’s play area.

This year’s festival provided a full day of entertainment, including a DJ, several shows by drag queens and kings, and live music from the bands High Vibes and Amazing Adventures. It was kicked off by the Rainbow Ramble, a people-powered parade led by the Adams State Drum Corp. The group began at Trinidad State Junior College and ended at PrideFest, walking through a large rainbow-colored balloon arch.

With cooperation from a variety of community organizations and businesses, this year’s PrideFest also offered many family-friendly activities, including a kid’s area coordinated by the Boys and Girls Club. Slogans on signs and posters seen throughout the park reiterated the message that “love is love.”

“I just want to thank everyone who supported us today, who sponsored us and who stood with us through the planning process of this first-time event,” said Scott White, one of the organizers of the event. “They are the reason this was able to happen, and the fact that we were able to have it on the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York makes it that much more meaningful.”

The event was completely volunteer-run, and funds raised throughout the event and through online donations go directly back into funding SLV Pride, whose mission is to unite the LGBTQ+ communities throughout the San Luis Valley, and to create and foster experiences that emphasize inclusiveness and mutual respect.

“There are no words to express how humbled and grateful we are to see all of this community spirit,” White said, waving his hands to take in the crowded scene of the park before him. “The LGBTQ community is seeing - maybe for the first time - just how welcoming this small town and this valley is. There are a lot of changes happening with LGBTQ rights, but we now know we can tackle these changes together as a united community.”

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