‘Rexburg Pride: Celebrate Unity’ event considered huge success within the community
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REXBURG — The Upper Valley’s largest community celebrated its first ever non-student-run LGBTQ+ Pride event Saturday.
Event planners with community organization Flourish Point were generously hoping to have three or four hundred people come out for the event. They were blown away to learn more than 1,000 people attended the Pride celebration.
“There was more support than we could have ever imagined,” Flourish Point spokesman Brooks McFadden told EastIdahoNews.com. “And we were able to see a lot of unity here. People who were able to just talk and get to know each other. It just goes to show the need for kindness and love and acceptance and to see that goal be accomplished here is incredible.”
Flourish Point has been planning this event since they formed earlier this year, with the purpose of uniting the whole community together at the celebration.
“The goal of Rexburg Pride is in the title – ‘Rexburg Pride: Celebrate Unity.’ We want to be able to celebrate unity within the LGBTQ+ community, but also with the Rexburg community,” McFadden said. “(We) want to bridge this gap that we don’t believe should exist.”
The event, which was located in Porter Park, included a BYU-Idaho alumni luncheon for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies. There were multiple vendors and food trucks set up for the public to enjoy. Various groups performed at the Beehive Pavilion. There were singers, a poetry reading, and a welcome to Rexburg Pride event from the Flourish Point board.
Afterwards, the group led a walk around the park followed by more performances from groups including Miller Band, Hazel Paul, Furious George, Pioneer 47, and Alex Holloway.
BYU-Idaho student Janessa Evans was thrilled to attend the event.
“I absolutely love it,” she said. “It makes me feel so loved and included. I think there’s always a fear that you’re not going to be (loved) and you’re gonna just be judged, and I think that’s not the case here and I really love that.”
Besides the events in the park, there was a small group of people near Deseret Book protesting the Pride event. McFadden said Flourish Point has a message for those who may not understand the reason for Pride.
“It’s okay to have a conversation about (this),” McFadden said. “We understand that there are preconceived ideas and notions and concerns and we’re here to resolve them, answer questions and to open up dialogue with others. (We want to) make sure that people feel safe, people feel comfortable and secure in these situations when something a little new has been introduced.”
Flourish Point is hoping that next year will be even bigger and better.
More information on Flourish Point can be found on their website.