Attendees of Ozarks Pridefest share what the event means to them
The 2023 Ozarks Pridefest was held June 10 with a parade and celebration on the square in downtown Springfield.
'We are family' was the theme for the 2023 Ozarks Pridefest.
Cheyenne is from Springfield and has been coming to Pridefest since she was a teenager.
“I like to come because it’s so great to see everybody celebrating being allowed to be who they are and not having to be afraid, and I think that’s really beautiful.”
Robert Taylor says PrideFest offers a chance to meet new people.
“It’s just the one day of the year where we have an actual sense of community, where we can see it visually of all the people here in the Ozarks who are a part of this community.”
Kenny Kabak was happy to see inclusive faith-based sponsors.
“So many people that attend these things have experienced trauma from a lot of faith communities" Kabak says. "So, it’s good to see the faith communities, specifically, step up and show people that they have a place and that they are welcomed and that they are loved and that they are going to be loved on for who they are.”
Despite recent tensions in the Ozarks surrounding the LGBTQ plus community, attendees did not let threats of violence stop them from attending. KSMU spoke with Heath Ross a supporter at Ozarks Pridefest, who is always on the lookout for potential danger.
"I’m always a worrier. I’m always the one that’s looking for the person in the crowd with a gun or watching the street or car going off track. It’s scary sometime to come out in larger groups where you’re kind of a target,” Ross said.
Faith, another attendee says Pridefest means not feeling like they are alone.
“Going to pride and being able to be around everybody makes me feel like I’m not alone, that there is more people out there who are like me that have succeeded in being who they are,” Faith said.