In addition to performers, many people in the LGBTQ community dress in drag and walk on stilts at the Pride Festival. People can take pictures with them and are urged to leave a tip. (Stephanie Cornwell/WUFT News)
Members of the LGBTQ community dressed in rainbow flags, brought their friends and family, and made new friends Saturday at Bo Diddley Plaza in downtown Gainesville. This year’s motto of the Pride Festival was “pride now more than ever,” according to Terry Fleming, Co-President of the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida. The festival also included a children’s area titled “Kids Pride.” Children could get their face painted, make crafts with friends, and play in a foam-like jungle gym. Many attendees brought their dogs, wallets and blankets to relax on the grass and have fun. About 100 vendors sold crafts and jewelry, and served food. Local talent sang from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Leslie Tharp, a 33-year-old Gainesville resident, spends her time transforming scraps of metal into works of art. When Tharp isn’t working on commissioned projects for businesses, the city of Gainesville and individuals, she’s teaching classes and leading workshops on blacksmithing.