The seventh annual Knoxville Pridefest drew a crowd of nearly 10,000 to a parade through downtown and to a festival in World’s Fair Park on June 22.
Participants in the festivities came out to show support for and raise awareness of the gay, lesbian and transgender community both in Knoxville and the surrounding East Tennessee area. Many people wore rainbow-themed clothing or body paint to either celebrate being openly gay or to show support for friends and family who are.
“We wanted to surround our family with other diverse families,” Becky Lucas said. Her group, Parents Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, provides support and a public forum for discussing issues important to the gay community.
The parade featured almost 50 entrants that included marching bands, representatives of local civic and political groups, drag queens, and ordinary people wishing to show their support. The festival in World’s Fair Park consisted of local and national musical acts, food and drink vendors, and many area groups there to support a more diverse community.
“I’ve always come since the very beginning of it,” said Rick Sawyer of the Gay Men’s Discussion Group. He added that the event has grown very quickly over the last few years, and that this year’s attendance far outstrips that of any previous year.