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First K-Zoo Pride draws 1,800

By |2018-01-16T17:52:21-05:00June 19th, 2008|News|

By Sarah Mieras

Just over 1,800 people turned out last Saturday for Kalamazoo’s first Pride Festival in the heart of downtown at the Arcadia Festival site.
The daylong event drew large numbers of families and LGBT folks from surrounding rural communities. The Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center served as the event’s fiduciary during the inaugural year, carrying forward efforts launched last year to have a Pride celebration in the city.
“People were there, dancing with their kids. People were together. There were old people and young people and black people and white people. It was joy, and we need joy,” said Tom Seiler of the KGLRC, who helped plan the festival.
Aside from being a great event for the community, Seiler noted the event was a financial success as well. “We broke even, and are able to pay all of the bills.”
Many attendants said the downtown location for the event gave the LGBT community visibility that is usually lacking in Kalamazoo.
“Being here, downtown, just makes it feel like we are really part of the community,” said Kenny Bird, a member of the KGLRC Youth Group.
Although most of the event went as planned, there were a few hiccups. A handful of local elected officials who were invited did not show up. And, special guest speaker Urvashi Vaid, Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation, was unable to attend due to an illness.
Organizers said planning for the 2009 event will begin soon. “We are planning on having two to three times as many attendants,” said Seiler.

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.
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