Bloomington Pridefest returned to the streets this year as an in-person street festival with booths, wellness activities, music performances and other entertainment on East Kirkwood Avenue on Aug. 28.
Bloomington Pridefest has been ranked as the “Best College Town Pride” in the nation by Thrillist in 2019.
Some of the featured entertainment at the festival included a dance party with DJ Spikes, MPG wrestling and two drag shows. Entertainment ran for most of the afternoon on the main stage at Kirkwood Avenue and Grant Street, in Peoples Park and near the intersection of Lincoln Street and Kirkwood Avenue.
The first drag show of the night had people cheering along and dancing to loud music. A variety of performers took their time both on and off the stage mingling with the crowd.
Every performer brought something different to their performance, whether that be with outfits ranging from a Sailor Moon cosplay to a superhero outfit. One of the drag performers played out a story about facing rejection for being transgender before getting into the rest of their performance.
Health education and wellness events took place inside the Monroe County Public Library from 1-6 p.m. Events ranged from yoga to HIV testing services in conjunction with IU Health Positive Link.
Many participating booths lining the street sold pride gear like rainbow folding fans, while others focused on sharing information about what their organization does in Bloomington.
One organization, Women Writing for (a) Change, seeks to offer a safe space for writers to express their voice. Ithad a booth run by board member Margie Schrader to reach out to writers.
“It feels nice to be out for a positive reason,” Schrader said.
Another organization, Monroe History Center, chronicles and shares local history and had a booth run by education manager Andrea Hadsell.
“Pridefest has always been an opportunity for people in the community to get together and celebrate their joyous moments,” Hadsell said.
One festival goer, Anoosha Sri, shared that while it was not her first time at Pridefest, it was her first time experiencing a drag show and was very happy with the performances.
“In terms of morale, it really was something that the community needed to remind everyone that there is a place for you,” Sri said.