I Heart Local Music hosted a Pride parade and party Saturday afternoon to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month.
The parade started in South Park on Massachusetts Street at 5 p.m. with a band playing on a table and then leading the large group down Massachusetts Street to Abe and Jake’s Landing by City Hall.
“It just makes me so excited to see so many like-minded people who are just ready to accept and empower other people around town,” said Lanie Spiegle, a parade attendee.
The crowd was excited and happy in a return to normalcy, multiple attendees said. People could be seen flitting across the park and party to say hello to people they haven’t seen in a while or didn’t expect to see at Pride.
“It’s an amazing turnout,” said Nathan Do, President of O-STEM at KU. “This is actually my first Pride, so it’s an amazing turnout, and I love how seeing how queer, gay everyone is. It’s just nice to see.”
As the parade of people proudly held their pride flags and marched down the sidewalk of Massachusetts Street, the honks of cars were met in an equal volume of cheers from the crowd. Music from various people’s devices could be heard playing queer anthems like "Montero" by Lil Nas X or "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga.
People filed into Abe and Jake’s Landing while the band continued to play outside the entrance. Partygoers were greeted with air conditioning, music, lights, and a large rainbow as they came in.
Inside the venue, businesses and organizations showcased various goods and services to attendees while Miss Amanda Love, the host of drag shows at Jazzhaus, started the party. She presented drag artists like Novacayne DeMornay and Rose Champagne, and trans fronted music acts like Cuee and The Creepy Jingles.
While this event was the second Pride event held in Lawrence so far, some attendees mentioned a desire for more Pride events in the coming weeks. Earlier this month, Plymouth Congregational Church held a similar Pride party in South Park.
“I think we need more of them (Pride events), not just once,” said Josh Langley, a parade attendee. “I think it needs to happen more often because the more often you do something, the more regularized it is. And when things are normal, people stop being hateful.”