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Rochester PrideFest celebrates 20 years

Rochester PrideFest celebrates 20 years

It's PrideFest weekend in Rochester.

The three-day event, put on by the Gay Lesbian Community Service of SE Minnesota, is celebrating 20 years of promoting unity and inclusiveness. This year's lineup includes everything from a teen prom to a family-friendly block party — and is meant to serve as reminder that no one is alone in the pursuit for equality.

"With the struggles for the LGBTQA community this last couple years a major focus, it is nice to get back to the unity and support," said Ken Tollefsrud, the group's chair. 

Over the years, the event has continued to grow (around 2,400 people attended the 2016 PrideFest) — so much so that organizers decided to move this year's event to Soldiers Field park.

"After last year's success, we determined that we had outgrown that space downtown at the Peace Plaza and wanted to get back out to more open green spaces," said Tollefsrud.

From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, the community is invited to come down to the park for music, vendors and other activities, including a drag queen dunk tank. Mayor Ardell Brede, who organizers describe as an unwavering supporter of the LGBTQ community, will offer a proclamation.

"Granted we don’t carry the expensive headline acts of some larger PrideFests, but we do remain true to the original purpose of Gay Pride in celebration, " added Tollefsrud. "The true reason to celebrate Pride is to reflect on our history and past, remember our struggles and accomplishments and to continue to remain visible in the community. We still have a lot our work ahead of us."

Click here for the full lineup of events this weekend.

Cover photo courtesy Rochester Pridefest

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