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Pride Festival returns to Evansville after two-year hiatus for COVID-19

Pride Festival returns to Evansville after two-year hiatus for COVID-19
Published: Jun. 4, 2022 at 8:26 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2022 at 8:35 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - June is Pride Month, and Evansville celebrated that Saturday with its own Pride Festival.

Evansville’s Pride Festival is back, and it filled Haynie’s Corner with color, music and food after a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19.

“This year we’re very excited to be back in person and obviously everybody else is too,” said River City Pride President Ashley Riester.

River City Pride, the organization that hosted the event, started in 2018 and held its first festival in 2019. They say their first festival was a learning experience, saying they planned for 200 people to come and ended up having about 2,000.

This year, organizers say they were better prepared, and they estimate 4,000 people came out.

“It is so exciting to be a safe place for everybody to come and be their true, authentic selves; and they get to do that here, right in Evansville, Indiana,” said Riester.

The day started with a Pride parade at 11 a.m., then the festival started at noon and goes until 10 p.m. Those in attendance say they were eager to be a part of the event.

“Everybody’s friendly, everybody’s nice and comfortable,” said Candy Black, who visited Evansville for the festival.

“I think it’s awesome, it’s really great. It feels very inclusive, just a sense of normalcy to life, everyday life,” said William Stevenson, who’s attended both Evansville pride festivals. “I don’t know, it just feels really good.”

Event organizers say one of the goals of River City Pride is to create spaces where people can feel comfortable to be themselves, and that has larger benefits for the area.

“That’s really a part of community development, economic development, that we bring quality of place here, and part of quality of place is making people feel welcome in the city that they live in or visit,” said Riester.

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