Gainesville community members of all ages gathered on Sunday for a guided hike, wildlife demonstrations, and music performances at the second annual Pride at Prairie Creek.
The event celebrated the LGBT community, especially those within the conservation field. Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) hosted the event at Prairie Creek Lodge in southeast Alachua County.
“[Pride at Prairie Creek] is a community event where folks can come together and share a feeling of belonging,” said ACT Conservation Director Erica Hernandez.
The outdoor celebration ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Local bands Clay Dixon & the Picadillies and Patchwork performed. Gainesville businesses EIM Thai, Feliz Flavors, First Magnitude Brewing Co. and Opus Coffee sold food and drinks.
Guests wore rainbow accessories, bright colors and bejeweled makeup.
“It is very heartwarming to see people happy and being themselves,” said Michael Bing, an attendee.
Attendees enjoyed live music and walked between the tables of local artists and organizations. Some organizations brought along wildlife like snakes, owls, and tortoises for guests to enjoy.
Maria Velez-Climent brought her family of four to the event. She wants to show her kids what pride is about.
“It’s to be proud of who you are and completely accept yourself,” she said.
Her daughter is transgender.
“For her to be able to do that, it can’t just be at home,” said Velez-Climent. “She has to be able to see herself out there in the world.”
First Magnitude Brewing Co., Five Element Acupuncture, HR Bartender, Michelle DuBois, and REI sponsored the event. Guests could donate to enter a raffle for gift baskets and gift cards from the sponsors. All proceeds from the drawing go to the Pride Center of North Central Florida.
ACT Conservation Events Coordinator Ema Olmos is excited to see Pride at Prairie Creek continue to grow.
“The hope is that it keeps on getting bigger,” she said. “We want our community to know we have a safe space for them [the LGBT community] where they can be celebrated.”