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Local LGBTQ pride event is still happening this year

Pocatello

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EastIdahoNews.com file photo

POCATELLO — Many summer festivities have been postponed or canceled due to COVID-19, but Priddaho is moving forward with their event that’s expected to draw thousands of people.

In honor of National Pride Month in June, Priddaho Pride 2020 will take place June 13. There will be local vendors, helicopter rides, drag queens and performers. Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad will also give a speech.

Priddaho is an organization devoted to raising awareness about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Straight and Unidentified individuality in eastern Idaho.

“This year, we are going to be the only ones in the month of June that are doing (the event) in the state of Idaho,” Priddaho Executive Director Travis Kerbs says. “Boise rescheduled theirs. Utah’s rescheduled theirs … Idaho Falls rescheduled theirs.”

Kerbs said they were going to do an event in Idaho Falls and Pocatello but they were told they could only do one, given the circumstances with the virus. Priddaho chose Pocatello because they had already gotten things set up for the event there.

“The city of Pocatello has allowed us to carry out what we’ve been organizing and planning for the past six, seven months,” Priddaho Vice President Benjamin Pedroza told EastIdahoNews.com. “We thought it was going to get canceled, but we got their encouragement to push through … and provide a celebration.”

The nonprofit organization has been around since 2017. Last year was the group’s first public event, and nearly 8,000 people attended. Not only are locals expected to attend this year, but Kerbs extended an invite to the LGBTQ communities in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.

“We’ve had a little bit of backlash with people. They’re upset that we’re having a large activity, but we are in the legal rights of it. It’s in stage four of the governor’s planning,” Kerbs said.

Priddaho logo. | Courtesy Priddaho Facebook page

Organizers want to make sure all rules and guidelines are followed. Kerbs said social distancing will be in effect as much as possible, booths will be eight feet apart and masks aren’t required, but they’re encouraged.

There will not be a parade like they were originally planning because social distancing would be a challenge.

“I think it’s probably going to be one of the few events that will go forward. Probably our biggest advantage is everything is outside,” Priddaho Vice President Lenny Fraser said. “If anything changes, the governor will tell us and we’ll always keep the safety and health of everyone in the forefront of our minds.”

This year’s theme is “We’re coming out.” Kerbs said it’s to honor all of the past, present and future individuals of the LGBTQ community that aren’t comfortable with coming out or for people that have come out and suffered from abuse, neglect or some kind of rejection.

“It’s a celebration of self-acceptance in a way for all of us to embrace our community,” Fraser said.

The free day-long celebration is open to everyone. It is happening from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Portneuf Wellness Complex at 2375 Olympus Drive.

“The ultimate end goal is for everybody to come out and be themselves for one day. They don’t get criticized. They don’t get judged. They can be themselves in a safe environment,” Kerbs said.

More information on Priddaho Pride 2020 can be found here.

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