To get to PrideFest 2005, you first have to make it past security: four women armed with water guns and a quick wit. Nobody gets through without a conversation.
“Everybody’s got something good to point out about them,” Peri said after calling over Beth, Kim and Rae to feel an exceptionally soft shirt on a driver.
PrideFest 2005, held Saturday, was the second-annual festival organized by the Mid-Missouri LGBT Coalition, based in Columbia. The festival was held in Cosmopolitan Park and featured live local entertainers from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.
More than 40 organizations registered for booths this year, twice as many as attended in 2004. Organizations ranging from the Columbia Progressive Christians to the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health circled the volleyball court at the Dexheimer Pavilion.
This year, after persuading the City Council to allow nonprofit organizations to sell food in Cosmo Park, the Pride Cafe offered traditional grill fare. What for several years was only an informal barbecue in the park has turned into the second full-blown festival, attracting organizations from across the state.
“It’s a day the LGBT community can get together to show who they are, and that they have come to accept themselves,” coalition board member Linda Hayes said.
While the mood was festive, it was not difficult to find reminders of August, when Missourians voted to amend the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages. This year the coalition chose to adopt the slogan “Equal Rights: No More No Less,” chosen by the International LGBT Association in recognition of the constitutional amendments from 2004 that restricted same-sex marriage in several states.
“The people who were eating and sleeping and breathing (Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2) had to take some time off, but it’s never left our minds,” PrideFest chairwoman Nicki Nixon said.