Pride Fest returns to Bloomington after year long COVID-19 hiatus



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BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) – The third annual Pride Fest kicks off Friday at 10 p.m. with a live music performance from Jen Porter. The street festival on North Main street is Saturday at 4 p.m. in Downtown Bloomington.

Owner of “The Bistro” Jan Lancaster said events like Pride Fest are important for the LGBTQIA+ community after this past year.

She said many felt alone. Even more so based on the challenges and isolation of the pandemic.

“For many, it was a very difficult time for depression and people were unemployed and didn’t what was gonna happen. If a family member was going to become ill.”

Lancaster sees this festival as a way for the community to reunite and recharge.

“This is just extremely important for us to come together and just see each other and connect again.”

Expect live music, drag shows, pop up shops from non-profits, and a COVID-19 vaccination spot all blocking off main street as done in the past.

Prairie Pride Coalition Board Member Dave Bentlin said getting together this year has a whole new meaning.

“That period of time last year when we didn’t have any pride parades, when we didn’t have any pride festivals, didn’t have any sorts of celebration, it was hard for a lot of us,” Bentlin said. “I think this year, these events will be so much more meaningful because we know what it’s like to not have them. And we don’t want to experience that again.”

Rain is expected in the forecast for Saturday, but Lancaster said the show must go on. She said they are planning on putting up canopy tents to cover North Main street.

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