Laramie’s 2nd Annual PrideFest Grows From Last Year
Organizers have been hard at work preparing the 2nd Annual Laramie PrideFest, which they say is scheduled to be much bigger than last year’s event.
Robert West, PrideFest founder and organizer, said this year’s celebration will feature 15 different events including a pride march, an open mic night, an additional drag show, queer film festival and pride interfaith service. PrideFest will open Tuesday night with the Laramie City Council’s proclamation of Pride Month at City Hall at 6 p.m.
West said he felt PrideFest needed to expand after the support it received from the Laramie community last year.
“I think last year was a great time for us to introduce PrideFest to Laramie and we got this outpouring of support and amazing attendance and just a great time,” West said. “And we just wanted to make sure that we are going to do the same things that we did last year, but we want to expand into other portions of the community as well.”
West said he wanted to make this year’s PrideFest a community-centered event where all are welcome to attend.
“Anyone can participate and anyone can go to an event or see an event that really speaks to them and where they can experience what queer culture in Wyoming and in Laramie really is,” West said.
This year’s celebration will feature a number of highlights such as the pride march on Saturday, June 30 at 11 a.m., which will be a first this year. West said that there will also be two drag shows this year, which he said are becoming very popular.
West said this year’s pride in the park event in Washington Park at noon will feature vendors, a potluck dinner, speakers, games and performers.
PrideFest will conclude with the Matthew Shepard candlelight vigil on Sunday, July 1st at the University of Wyoming Simpson’s Plaza at 8:30 p.m.
“It’s just a great time to remember Wyoming’s history, remember where we come from and just to remember that violence is all too real for a lot of queer people and just to have that in our mind and in our hearts,” West said. “Pride is definitely a time to celebrate and feel support in our community but it also a time just to remember what struggles we had in the past and what struggles we face in the future.”
West emphasizes that Laramie PrideFest is a community event and anyone is welcome to attend any of the events. The schedule of events can be found on the PrideFest Facebook page.