Fort Collins PrideFest 2012 the first held by the Center

Where can you find a Dogs in Drag pageant, frozen t-shirt contest and a petting zoo? At this year’s Fort Collins PrideFest, which will be held in Civic Center Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.  

Traditionally, PrideFest has been hosted by the Lambda Center, but Lambda closed at the end of last December, leaving a satellite office in its place simply called the Center.

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Other organizations in attendance at PrideFest include Country Lemonade, MillerCoors and numerous human rights groups. Choice City Shots is having a PrideFest after-party featuring drag shows, gogo dancers and music. Entry will be $5 at the door.

Also setting up booths and tents will be a number of religious and spiritual organizations that, “want to be more open and accepting,” said John Case, the vice president of the local chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

PFLAG is an organization dedicated to not only supporting LGBT* individuals, but enable support from those closest to them, and to extend their reach to other minority groups as well.

“People should attend to show support,” said Dat Luong, a biomedical engineering major.

English and technical theater major Kaily Buttrick agreed.

“It’s a great way to build community. The LGBT* community isn’t like some minorities because it’s an invisible one,” she explained.  “It blends in.”

This sense of community is not just for those who fall under the LGBT* umbrella.

“I want to take [my friend], who’s a straight ally,” said Luong, who has a supportive friend he wants “to learn more about what it means to be an ally and more about the community.”
Luong added that the community has strength.

“We’ve been oppressed, and we’re still oppressed, but PrideFest helps show that we’re not a stereotype,” Luong said. “We’re not suicidal or weak, and we’re not unhappy. We’re happy with who we are.”

And, according to Case, this year has potential to be better than year’s past thanks to the Center.

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“I enjoy people feeling they have this safe space, and I think with Center it’ll have more people and more energy,” Case said. “I’d love to see more of that student traffic this year; it’s good to start this kind of change at younger ages.”

More information and events can be found at www.FortCollinsPrideFest.org.