Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ozarks PrideFest is this Saturday

Attendees watch drag performances at the 2023 Ozarks Pridefest. Photo by Dylan Durrington/KSMU
Attendees watch drag performances at the 2023 Ozarks Pridefest. Photo by Dylan Durrington/KSMU

Organizers expect 5,000 attendees during a day of events that starts with a parade through downtown Springfield.

June is LGBTQ+ Pride month across the nation. The Springfield metro area’s biggest celebration, Ozarks PrideFest, begins with a parade through downtown at 11:30 a.m. this Saturday. Events on the square start at noon.

Aaron Schekorra, executive director of the GLO Center in Springfield and an organizer behind Pridefest, described the lineup: “We’re kicking it off with The Mixtapes, and then we have several other artists, drag performers, a poet that’s going to be performing throughout the day, and it all ends with our headlining drag show with Daya Betty." Schekorra explained Betty is “local to the area and famous for being on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and we’re very excited to have her here.”

He says the celebration is a central part of the pride calendar, an important time for sponsors, vendors and those in the community to build relationships.

The Ozarks Pridefest hosted in Springfield is a leading pride event for the region. He says visitors come from as far away as Arkansas and Oklahoma.

This year’s theme is “it’s giving revolution.”

“It is a theme that is in the spirit of the resilience of our community,” Schekorra said, “but also, honoring that history of pride being a point of social change and of betterment of our community, of the progress that we’ve made but also the work that’s still left to be done.”

Ozarks Pridefest faced criticism last year. Attacks were specifically lobbed at sponsors and community partners of the event. Schekorra said that this year they have faced less pushback but did find some sponsors were hesitant to be involved. After a late push Schekorra said they did secure enough sponsors. They also have more vendors than ever, and he says they expect around 5,000 attendees Saturday.

Schekorra explained, “what started out looking like it might have been a little bit of a scaled down event because of some of that harassment and hatred last year has actually turned into a bigger PrideFest.” He said they’re “excited to see that response from the community standing with the queer community and showing their support.”

It is not the only PrideFest in the Ozarks. Schekorra was quick to promote a pride celebration in West Plains that will be held June 15 and 16. It will be the first event of its kind in that city. Lebanon, Missouri celebrated pride last weekend on the first. Rolla will also celebrate this weekend. Joplin is set to hold a PrideFest event in September.

When it comes to Ozarks Pridefest Schekorra says he is most looking forward to the chance to connect with people in the community.

“My favorite part is finding out where people have come from and why they’ve come, especially families,” Schekorra said. “It’s always really wholesome and nice to see it truly be like a family friendly day.”

Find more information and a parade route map at