Report by Amanda Kurukulasuriya & George Frey
On Saturday, Aug. 25, the MidMo PrideFest, was, as one would expect, a colorful cacophony of rainbow flags, local booths, and free live music. There were rainbow flags tied around necks as capes, glitter-covered bodies and people clad in nothing but shorts and a binder. Same-sex couples ran around with hands clasped unabashedly while vendors at the numerous booths stood peddling their wares. A booth selling jewel-toned pottery and bracelets had a sign that read “Support living artists. The dead ones don’t need it.”
The festival was held at Rose Musical Hall this year with vendors lining the adjacent street. According to the official website of MidMo PrideFest “Festivals, like Pride, are important to our community because it allows us to not only celebrate our identities and the things that make us unique, but it also gives the community an opportunity to show their support to their LGBTQ neighbors, friends, employees, and customers.” In 2017 MidMo PrideFest officially merged with The Center Project, an LGBTQ resource center providing for Mid-Missourians.
Being Pride, the festival was an explosion of rainbows. There was rainbow chalk on the sidewalk, rainbow popsicles, rainbow body paint, coloring pages and rainbow merchandise. The rainbow of the scenery however could not begin to compare to the colorful characters that crowded the streets of downtown Columbia. Below are some participants’ thoughts on Pride, being part of or an ally of the LGBTQ + community, and the musical performances of the day.