Editor's note: Missourian reporter Pavan Vangipuram has embarked on a venture to showcase the ways that summer is spent in Columbia. A videographer, Pavan plans to cover picnics and concerts, day camps, swim meets and more. The purpose is to reveal how the range of activities mirrors the diverse interests in the community.
COLUMBIA — Hundreds gathered near Flat Branch Park on Sunday to celebrate the ninth annual Mid-Missouri PrideFest. The festival featured music, food and fun and served to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community of mid-Missouri.
Nathan Fleischmann, communications director for Mid-Missouri PrideFest, said the timing of the festival was set during the summer to coincide with the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a 1969 demonstration that helped spark the modern gay rights movement.
"This is a time for us to come together and say, 'hey, we're equal, too,' and make ourselves known in the public," he said.
Rob McPeetie, who attended this year's festival, said it was one of the best he had seen.
"We're here just making awareness about who, what, and how we are and making sure everyone knows: we're here, we're queer, and we're not going anywhere," McPeetie said.
Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.