The week is over and it is time to take a look back at some of the must see sights at this years Indy Pride Festival. As usual, this year saw a huge turn out of the Indianapolis area LGBT community. With an estimated over 80,000 in attendance and over 300 vendors, this years festival was lively, colorful, and eccentric to say the least. From a children’s play area, to special alcohol tents, this years festival proved that there was something for everyone in the LGBT community. Here are just a few highlights from Saturdays festival.
The Indy Pride Bag Ladies aren’t your everyday run of the mill drag queens. Established in 1981, the Indy Pride Bag Ladies roam the state of Indiana putting on shows, with proceeds going to raise money for HIV/AIDs treatment, prevention, and awareness. This year, the Ladies took to the main stage at Indy Pride and put on a show for the ages; dancing and lip singing their ways into the hearts of all in attendance. After taking the stage, the bag ladies could be found out and about mingling and taking pictures with fans. They were, without a doubt, a great addition to this years Indy Pride Festival.
2013 was a huge year in Indiana for the LGBT community, and the Republicans in the state legislature weren’t on the friends list. The brave souls at the Marion County Republican Party had a booth set up at this years festival and they were willing and eager to answer questions from curious visitors. The contest to win a 42 inch flat screen t.v didn’t helped attract some of those curious visitors. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard even came to the event for a bit to take pictures and talk to some LGBT constituents. Regardless of your political beliefs, the Indy Republicans get a nod on this list for bravery alone.
The Food. The Food. The FOOD!
Central Indiana Festivals are famous for having some of the best food around. Vendors really bring their A game to the Indy Pride Festival. The variety at this years festival was amazing and I was trying my best to control myself and not purchase something from each vendor. From the great pork tacos at the Adobo tent, to the irresistible pizza at the Hot Box Pizza tent (but come on guys, $3 for a can of soda is crazy!), I was really blown away by the variety of food options at this years event.
Indianapolis based DJ Knayte was the MC for the events on the main stage this year at the festival. He took the stage sporting a pair of massive blue wings, that one can only assume, were clipped from St Gabriel himself. With a touch of blue face paint, Knayte was ready for a long day on the stage welcoming some of the most talented LGBT acts to the stage. When not flying around the Pride Festival, DJ Knayte can be found on stage at the Talbott Street Nightclub.
One of the coolest things you could find at this years Indy Pride Festival was members of the Indiana Fever doing meet and greets. Players Shavonte Zellous and Erlana Larkins were out pressing the flesh and smiling for picture with eager fans. The Fever could use the fun; they are fighting hard to stay above .500 in a very competitive WNBA Eastern Conference.
For a lot of members of the LGBT community, Christianity can be a very scary thing. Perceptions of people who are filled with hate, and anger toward the community run rampant. Visions of Chik Fil A rallies and angry IndyStar comments come to mind. The handful of churches at this year festival had set out to change that. With signs that read, “Our Family Values Include You”, churches like Life Journey, and United Church of Christ were out spreading their message of love, compassion, and understanding.
Tina from Dominoes
Whoa! Talk about an outrageous costume. Tina, from Dominoes was out and about at the festival meeting hungry guests and posing for pictures. Her extravagant red and blue pizza themed costume was an instant attraction. While I am not the biggest fan of Dominoes pizza, I can only think that Dominoes got their money’s worth with Tina out working the crowd.
Of all the tents a this years Indy Pride Festival, the one that stood out the most, to me at least, was the “Bowties are Cool” tent from Selena Billington of The Directors Cabin. One sure way to draw people to your tent is to put a Doctor Who esque police call box outside your tent. Inside, Selena had an amazing selection of hand made bow ties that stood out. Each one was unique, creative, and really caught the eyes of a lot of people at the festival. Talking to Selena, she seemed very proud of her work and encouraged me to visit her Etsy shop (linked above). I hope to see more of this local artists work at more central Indiana festivals.
Many visitors got a chance to test their strength at Indy Pride this year. The Hoyden Rugby Club constructed an arm wrestling table and there was no shortage of people willing to step up and take the challenge. I however, didnt even entertain the thought of arm wrestling (just look at some of the gruesome bone breaking videos on YouTube. Ouch!), but many did. The Hoyden Women’s Rugby Club is the only women’s rugby team in the city and they are fierce. If you haven’t seen a rugby match live, this is your chance. It’s hard hitting and fast paced. Just like arm wrestling, I am choosing to stay off the rugby field for the foreseeable future.
And…..Jake the Dog
This is Jake. He was a pretty cool dog that was strolling around the festival with his owner. With his sweet shades and rainbow handkerchief, Jake was a cool customer as he took in the sights at this years Indy Pride Festival.