(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The LGBT community in St. Joseph celebrated pride this weekend at Coleman Hawkins Park.
In its eighth year, St. Joseph Pridefest featured fun, dancing, and entertainment. Those in charge of the festival said the turn out has been strong this year.
"I think its the biggest one we've had." Daniel Ramming, Midland Empire Equality Commission (MEEC) said.
Performers in the festival said it’s about more than just drag shows and entertainment, they say its about tolerance.
"It’s to accept everyone, to co-exist." Sasha Blake, Drag Queen said.
MEEC puts on the local pride festival every year, but this year they said recent events have shown tolerance.
After the passage of a non-discriminatory ordinance by the city as well as a drag queen story hour held at the downtown library, Ramming said the city is on its way to being more diverse and inclusive.
"It’s not perfect but it's a darn good start," He said.
Ramming also noted that this year was a record turnout for vendors, he said he believes acceptance is not only good for the community, it's also good for the local economy.
"It's just another way of showing that St. Joseph is open to business for everybody," He added.
Many involved in this year's festival said they were happy to see the community's actions toward LGBT inclusion, meanwhile, the local LGBT community said they're proud to call St. Joseph home.
"The heart of St. Joseph is beautiful," Blake said.
"We’re proud of St. Joseph," Ramming said. "We hope St. Joseph is proud of us."