PrideFest's atmosphere fosters unity, community

Saturday, June 13, 2009 | 6:04 p.m. CDT; updated 9:37 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 13, 2009
Pulguinha, left, and daughter Regina Hartleip-Pinto, 8, perform at PrideFest on June 13 as part of the BoCoMo Drumheads Medicine Show. Pulguinha has been studying traditional West African dances for twelve years and began teaching the style in 2007.

COLUMBIA — Rainbows, rainbows, everywhere you looked throughout Stephens Lake Park on Saturday. People of all ages were gathered to attend the sixth annual PrideFest, Columbia's largest yet.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, as well as friends and family, were greeted with 35 booths and two stages of entertainment featuring an African dance group, musicians, a "gayest dog" competition, a karaoke contest and a drag show.


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Shirley Moffit just moved to Columbia from Chicago, where PrideFest is a much larger event than it is in Columbia, complete with floats and parade. Moffit said she prefers Columbia’s style.

“It’s more activities, people sitting around, people to talk to,” Moffit said. “I like that.”

Moffit’s partner insisted they bring their dog, Lebron, to participate in the gayest dog competition and made sure he was dressed in the most fashionable collar.

There was a lot to do at the event, with activities such as washers and “hillbilly golf”," a game similar to washers where players try to wrap a golf ball tied to a string around the rungs of a ladder for points. For younger participants, there was a kids’ activity and craft center, which offered face painting. Michelle Twitty, vendor coordinator for PrideFest, said the family-friendly environment attracted a wide demographic.

“I would guess anywhere from birth to 50,” Twitty said about the ages of those in attendance.

The social atmosphere has given Columbia resident Amy Palmer a reason to attend the event each year.

“I know almost everyone here,” Palmer said. “It’s one of the only PrideFests that’s close and affordable.”

Megan Lee, co-coordinator and board member of Prism, an organization for LGBT youths, said she is glad the Columbia PrideFest has stayed localized.

“I enjoy the small-towniness of it,” Lee said. “It’s neat to see a PrideFest that’s not corporate-sponsored.”

 Columbia’s Pridefest is sponsored by the Mid-Missouri LGBT Coalition, which raises money through drag shows and community support, said Dustin Hampton, member of the PrideFest organization committee.

Booths were sponsored by political groups, faith-based organizations, health organizations and local businesses.

“We try to target businesses we know people are connected to,” Twitty said.

Despite the largest number of booths and entertainment venues to date, Twitty still wasn’t satisfied. “It could definitely get bigger next year,” she said.

SoCo Club owner Marty Newman has attended PrideFest every year since it began and agrees that the event should keep growing as a presence in the city.

“The community is big, and people should know,” Newman said.


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Josh Barone June 13, 2009 | 9:13 p.m.

I am a J student who was at this event today covering it for my J2100 class, and I am just a little confused about how to refer it.

In this article, Ponder refers to it as PrideFest, whereas the city's Web site and KOMU call it Pridefest. Those references can be found here:

When I write my own story, I'd like to refer to the event correctly, so I'm wondering: How did the Missourian decide on the name PrideFest and not Pridefest?

(Report Comment)
Emily Ponder June 14, 2009 | 1:30 a.m.

Hi, Josh. Just to let you know, the LGBT Coalition, which hosts the PrideFest refers to it this way on their website, This is also how it is referenced in the Vox Magazine summer preview (, and the advertisement for the event placed on the Columbia Tribune's website (
Good luck with your story, and thanks for making sure we were being accurate!

(Report Comment)
BILL BIXBY August 1, 2009 | 9:59 a.m.

Don’t be fooled Missouri! It ALWAYS starts this way. Your progressive Mayor is going to make sure you look just like the perverted San Francisco before he can no longer function or loses his seat. When he and the progressives are finished you’ll be dealing with the same exact sick perversions that the good folks of San Francisco, Massachusetts, Madison Wis. etc. are fighting today. Although they are finally getting caught, those cities and many more are now so infested with them in government it will take decades to even begin to correct it. Before you become, “gay friendly” learn what that means you are supporting. LEARN HOW YOUR MONEY IS GOING DIRECTLY to people who care NOTHING about the death of your children and grandchildren. See how your TAX money paid for, “fistgate” at (Yes even when another state hands out money, the moneypot is linked from state to state.) Fistgate is just one tiny but out of control example brought to Massachusetts by the same people bringing Missouri your pridefest. There is no “pride” in pridefest, and if you want to know how to address in writings and reporting, we suggest you use something more truthful, like “pathway to AIDS,” or “the de-parenting of America.” Please, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, YOU MUST become activists against this and your mayor, and you MUST begin today. This is the militant agenda, not of just homosexuals, but that of the “sex” move started in the seventies. DO THE RESEARCH. DO NOT USE the BIAS homosexual controlled websites for research, except to see how sick it is. Obviously they are NOT going to give you the THOUSANDS of studies and scientific facts proving the myth behind all of this that is only recruiting and killing kids. Their own leader proclaimed; it is time for us to admit, “AIDS IS OUR DISEASE.” Then he was fired for telling that scientifically repeatedly proven FACT. We can be the state that locked hands with the disgusting likes of San Francisco’s Mayor, or the state that “proudly” showed the world we won’t allow this destructive life to KILL OUR KIDS! Tolerance does not require us to throw our children to these wolves or support in any way. Missouri's MASS RESISTENCE COMING SOON!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 1, 2009 | 10:09 a.m.

Bill, are you even a Missouri or Columbia resident? If so, maybe next year you should go to PrideFest and document ever single naughty thing that occurs there. I'm guessing that will be zip, zero, nada - much like your arguments.

(Report Comment)
Dan Jordan August 1, 2009 | 10:20 a.m.


Sex was around long before the '70s. And why focus on children? Sex with children is already against the law in Missouri. Are you trying to ban sex among adults? Or just limit sex acts among adults?

(Report Comment)
Dan Jordan August 1, 2009 | 2:33 p.m.


Another thing: is AIDS more of a problem among lesbians than among the general population?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 1, 2009 | 3:47 p.m.

I believe that gays need to win over the souls of children to legitimize and validate their own sexual lifestyle and perpetuate the myth that there is no difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality or any other sexual lifestyle, fetish or "loving relationship" a person participates in. It is akin to the days of the "sexual revolution" where anything goes, regardless of the consequences. The public schools should not be teaching homosexuality as a viable alternative to young, impressionable children. Homosexuality is an abominishment to nature and destructive to the norms of traditional family values, morals and ethics. Pridefest is laughable and dangerous to procreation and elevates/glorifies an "alternative lifestyle" beyond equality.
Permissivness, acceptance and recruitment into this "lifestyle" should not be thrust upon our children or paraded around in public.
Disagree with me if you want, however I would sooner side with "Bill Bixby's" concerns on his even more extreme take on this subject then any advocate or participant of Pridefest or Fistgate.
The likes of the Westboro clan, however carries this too far and it is inappropriate to do what they do. However it is clear to me that the homosexuality agenda is being perpetuated by progressive who care more about political power and votes then they do about traditional family values and morality.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 1, 2009 | 4:02 p.m.

Ray, if you say PrideFest is "laughable and dangerous to procreation and elevates/glorifies an "alternative lifestyle" beyond equality" I take it you have been there, even once, to justify your statement? I'm going to guess no, but tell me if I'm wrong on that assessment. I've taken my children there, on at least once, maybe two occasions, and didn't see any of them thar gays trying to drive them to the gay side of the force. I think the worst behavior I saw was someone trying to give them candy, but that person was probably working undercover for some dental agenda.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 1, 2009 | 5:54 p.m.

>> However it is clear to me that the homosexuality agenda is being perpetuated by progressive who care more about political power and votes then they do about traditional family values and morality. <<<


(Report Comment)
Dan Jordan August 2, 2009 | 6:52 p.m.

>> However it is clear to me that the homosexuality agenda is being perpetuated by progressive who care more about political power and votes then they do about traditional family values and morality. <<<


(Report Comment)
Dan Jordan August 2, 2009 | 7:13 p.m.

"I believe that gays need to win over the souls of children to legitimize and validate their own sexual lifestyle[. R]ecruitment into this "lifestyle" should not be thrust upon our children[.]"

Recruitment? Seriously? Is there, like, a clip board with a sign-up sheet for any sexual orientation?

Why would anyone choose to be gay? Convenience and high social esteem? I don't think so.

I never chose a sexual orientation, I was just born this way--straight. And I have no need to assume bad intent in people who are different from me. Even in sexual orientation.

(Report Comment)

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