￼Rainbow flags, stickers, shirts and tutus were just some of the vibrant and fun attire seen along Carroll Creek Linear Park Saturday at Frederick’s eighth annual Pride Fest.
Music blared, people danced, drag queens performed and everyone, young or old, felt included.
With dozens of vendors and thousands of people lining the creek, Frederick Pride mimicked a party where everyone is invited and accepted for who they are.
“There is so many variations of LGBTQ people out there that what it comes down to is that people aren’t alone,” said Kris Fair, chair of The Frederick Center, an organization that advocates for and supports the local LGBTQ community “It helps people feel more confident and comfortable living in their community knowing that there’s other people who are just like that.”
Fair pointed out that the best thing to love about Pride is that it’s a space where LGBTQ folks and allies can gather and celebrate the culture and history of LGBT people.
People in the LGBTQ community intersect every facet of people’s lives in the country. In years past, Fair said people would come up to him and say they felt empowered and stronger about themselves after the fest.
“We are artistic folks, we work in businesses, we work in blue collar jobs and white collar jobs,” he said. “The point is that we are here, and there are a lot of us. We are really proud to be part of a larger conversation of how to build a more connected and affirming community.”
Before some performances, community leaders spoke in support of the LGTBQ community, like County Executive Jan Gardner and Rick Weldon, president and CEO of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce.
Gardner declared June 22 Pride Day in Frederick. Weldon spoke to the crowd and said no matter what segment, private, public or nonprofit, one thing that is needed throughout the community is more love.
“Until we develop respect for one another and celebrate love for each other, we can’t achieve our collective best as a community,” he said.
He thanked the LGBTQ community and its allies for helping make Frederick County a place where love replaces intolerance and understanding replaces ignorance.
Two friends, Maryann Cockrell and Danielle Lewis, both of Frederick, came to Pride Fest wearing rainbow flags as capes and other rainbow accessories to show their support and love for the LGBTQ community.
“I love coming because it’s acceptance for everyone,” Cockrell said. “It shows people that they can be who they are, whether they are closeted or out.”
She hopes that as Pride continues more and more people become accepting of the LGBTQ community.
Lewis loved seeing everyone at the fest wearing rainbow flags and colorful outfits. She added that she loved that everyone is so accepting.
It’s important to show people young and old in the community that they belong, she said, “no matter who they love or what they look like.”
“Even if we love differently and look differently, we’re all the same and we should be accepted the same as anyone else,” she said. “Love is love.”