The Sioux Falls Pride Festival 2016 was vibrant and full of love and acceptance. Just stepping foot onto Terrace Park I immediately smiled, because the energy was so strong. People of all ages were out celebrating love on Saturday, June 18. The community came together and provided a loving experience for our LGBT community and its supporters. My favorite part of the festival was the tribute to the Orlando massacre victims. Volunteers passed around stickers that said #LoveWins, #OnePulse, and #OrlandoStrong. I couldn’t help but over hear people express their grief over the shooting but reminded that love wins. Safety was a large concern for the festival because of the recent terrorist attack but the SFPD had the area well covered. Thank you to the SFPD for keeping the people of Sioux Falls safe and protected during this festival. The activities set for the festival were fun and inspiring for our community. Our community came together for an exciting day of activities at the Sioux Falls Pride Festival and the beautiful feeling of comity and acceptance.
Activities at the SuFu Pride
The festival started early in the afternoon around 12:45 pm and opened with a flag ceremony and the national anthem; a very respectful tribute to what America really is the land of the free. Then around 1:00pm Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether gave a welcoming speech to the people of the festival. During this speech he recognized Senator Angie Buhl O’Donnell and Speaker Paula Hawks for U.S House. After that the Drag Show started and some of our own local talent and talent from Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Dakota were all dancing in the drag show. Those ladies were superstar divas and twerked it to some iconic songs. The drag show went on for quite some time but afterwards, musical talent such as Amber Simpson from St. Paul and Minnesota’s band Tender Tomboys. Even our very own Sioux Falls musical talent the band VALLYHILL. There were a few words from the primary sponsor Wells Fargo and also from Sioux Falls city councilwoman, Michelle Erpenbach. Thomas Christiansen from The Center of Equality was there to share a few words with the people. I was pleasantly surprised by out community’s outreach to the LGBT community at the Pride event. Churches, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, Sioux Falls Police, among many other organizations had booths engaging with the public. Around 6:30 there was a commitment ceremony with an after party at Club David.
The Festival wouldn’t be a festival without vendors of course. The Pride Store was the main accessory vendor, selling rainbow flags, phone cases, bowties, suspenders, tee shirts, tank tops, and lots of jewelry. People of all ages were dressed head to toe in rainbow gear wearing it loud and proud. There weren’t a lot of variety in Food and drink accommodations. There was however a BBQ vendor selling hotdogs, burgers, and pulled pork sandwiches, there was also an authentic Mexican food vendor, and also a small food truck selling snacks. There was only one beer vendor that I saw, but had limited choices. I believe the best vendor was the shaved Ice or snow cone vendor. There certainly was a lot of rainbow shaved ice coming out of that tent cooling down people. I think overall the vendors and booths could have been better. Next year I would like to see more clothing and crafted Items, possibly even local LGBT artist selling their artwork and crafts. More food and beverage vendors would be a nice improvement as well. I noticed two out of the three vendors had like items which narrowed down the variety. The community’s outreach to the LGBT community is what made this experience the best it could have possibly been. The Sioux Falls Pride Festival was a success because people came together to accept and love people in our community, no matter their sexual orientation or identity. I look forward to celebrating at the Pride event again, next year.
If you attended the Pride Festival tell us what you liked most about it! And if anything, what you would like to see improved? You can also check out more events at Sioux Falls Pride’s Facebook page, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DonHa4pySsM. Also check out the Sioux Falls Pride Festival event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1569584846687852/.