Bloomington PRIDE’s ninth annual Pridefest celebrated the LGBTQ community with vendors, performances and community from 2-11:45 p.m. Saturday all along Kirkwood Avenue.
Supported by local businesses such as Rainbow Bakery and Hopscotch Coffee, the festival was flooded with patrons. Booths sold graphic tees, handmade jewelry and coloring books featuring designs from LGBTQ artists. Pride flags also lined the streets.
“The environment was so wonderfully accepting and affirming,” IU sophomore Bryan Wade said. “It’s my first Pride and I felt such an overwhelmingly deep connection to queer culture.”
For physical and spiritual nourishment, local food trucks took over almost an entire block. Pizza X gave away condoms and special edition cups that are sure to line dorm shelves for the rest of the semester.
Karina Bhargava, a holistic healer, provided free tarot readings and Alex Moffitt, a local hair stylist, offered free hair glitter. Many local churches, including St. Thomas Lutheran and St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, supported the festival by giving out handmade pins and popsicles.
Many children also came to the festival, sitting on top of their parents’ shoulders to watch the performances.
“One of my favorite parts about Pridefest was seeing all the younger kids who were there — out and proud,” IU sophomore Nithin Krishnan said. “It was inspiring and heart-warming to see a new generation getting to experience being a part of this amazing community.”
The performances were at the heart of the festival, with local celebrity drag queens and kings performing for the crowds. Pat Yo Weave and Desiree Bouvier, local drag queens, provided comforting commentary throughout the performances, emphasizing that they love everyone no matter what.
Notable acts included Lady Dumpster pouring candle wax all over herself, Lyna Koke lip-belting and Oriana Perón’s hormone monster mashup. Drag shows graced the mainstage at different intervals through the night, offering both family-friendly and risqué performances.
Drenched in sweat, the crowd cheered each other on at any given opportunity, dancing with the drag queens and skateboarding on church lawns. The crowd cloaked themselves in flags and doused themselves in glitter.
“The queer community has the best fashion, hands down,” Krishnan said.
Pridefest created a welcoming atmosphere for everyone in attendance, IU sophomore Sym Cloyd said.
“Bloomington PRIDE is my favorite pride I've been to because it feels very safe and secure,” Cloyd said. “As a Black queer person, it is so important for me to feel seen in all my intersections, and I feel that way at Bloomington Pride.”