GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – Thousands of residents celebrated the first Johnson County’s Pride Festival in history on Saturday.
The organizers were delighted with the participation, which exceeded their expectations.
The event took place at Craig Park on Saturday from 12pm to 5pm.
More than the food, more than the other activities and things being sold, there was a sense of acceptance served at Greenwood’s first Pride Block Party for the likes of Angel Purlee.
“I love it, I absolutely love it,” Purlee said.
Purlee was proud of her city. She has been part of the LGBTQ + community since she was 13.
The event on Saturday is a big change compared to the environment back then.
“You didn’t talk about it,” she said. “It’s one of the things I love about events like this – showing that it’s okay to be who you are, that you don’t have to hide anymore.”
So it only makes sense that she had to be here with loved ones.
“Two of my daughters are bisexual; my youngest is transgender, ”said Purlee. “It’s definitely a family affair.”
But for people like Heather Smith, who organized the event as part of a community group called Pride and Progress, the crowd was about 40% bigger than expected.
“Excitement, definitely emotional,” said Smith. “The opportunity to create a space for the LGBTQ community in Greenwood was what we had planned and I think we did it pretty successfully.”
Plans for a similar event had to be canceled last year due to the pandemic.
Smith said it was a bit overwhelming to see so many people attending an opening event, considering it’s the first Pride event for a city of 60,000 and growing.
“It doesn’t make sense to me that it takes so long to have Pride,” said Smith. “Our city is big enough and diverse enough that it really makes sense that we can get this off the ground and it would be successful.”
Proceeds from the event went to Trinity Haven, a shelter for LGBTQ + youth who are homeless in central Indiana.