By Will Roper
Photos by Kayla Solorzano
June 4, 2018

Star City Pride 2018.

The annual LGBTQ pride event of Lincoln drew a large and diverse crowd for the celebration’s two-day extravaganza of entertainment, education and equality.

On Friday and Saturday, Star City Pride occupied the tailgate lot outside the Lincoln Journal Star building, hosting a mini carnival of food and drink vendors, drag performers, live music and many other attractions. The festivities took place all day, with Friday lasting from 4 p.m. to midnight and Saturday from 1 p.m. to midnight.

Star City Pride has been a rapidly growing equality event since 2006, and serves to bring people of all identities together and continue to raise awareness of LGBTQ communties.

Pride 2018 featured a jam-packed lineup of local, national and international drag queens and entertainers. Featured drag queens were April Carrión from Puerto Rico, Faleasha Savage from Nebraska, Giselle Jacobs from Sioux City and Ramon Ventura. Other local and up-and-coming drag performers were featured throughout Friday and Saturday, with unique presentations of classic songs and elegant wardrobes.

As people mingled and listened to performances, various vendors and organizations for food, drink, activities, education and more were lined up and down the crowded parking lot.

One of those organizations was Lincoln’s chapter for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). The chapter has been involved with Star City Pride for years, educating and providing resources for people in order to make sure LGBTQ persons are valued in their communities.

Cindy Kelley, a board member for Lincoln chapter who attended PFLAG’s booth at Star City Pride, highlighted the importance of festivals such as this one.

“It’s so important – it brings everybody together,” Kelley said. “It solidifies the community as a whole, and really allows people who might not venture out often to see the community support is around now.”

Another organization at the event was the River City Mixed Choir, a choir hailing from Omaha that focuses on uniting the voices of all identities and personalities. Their newest concert, with music composed by Steve Milloy, honors the life of gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin – chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.

“One of the nice things about Star City Pride is that it’s very organized and all in one area,” said Mark Van Kekerix, board member for the River City Mixed Choir who attended the event. “It’s a little smaller [than other festivals] but a little more intimate.”

The Lancaster County Democrats also had their own booth at Star City Pride, spreading information about upcoming elections in the county and state.

Tony Wheeler, a member of the Lancaster County Democrats who was at the booth, said the party has seen an increase in younger, progressive voters who are supportive of the LGBTQ community and equality in general.

“It’s not a tokenism,” Wheeler said. “They’re part of the coalition.”

Other performers at the festival included Jacob St. Aubin, a pop singer from Ohio. Holmes Street, an all-female rock band from Kansas City, played their set on Saturday. Floor Is Lava, a pop-punk band from Lincoln, also performed on Saturday. Daniel Marquez and Sadie Bolte, organizers of Star City Pride, also sang solo songs and performed a duet of “Come Together.”

In all, the musical and drag performances were spectacular and markedly showcased the thriving LGBTQ community within Lincoln and Nebraska. The multitude of vendors and organizations involved with the event also showed just how much support people have and will continue to have for equality in our state. This was definitely one of the largest Star City Pride events in its history, and there is no doubt the crowds will continue to grow as the festival only becomes larger and larger.

[slickr-flickr tag="pride2018" captions="on"] View photos on KZUM's Flickr.

Will Roper and Kayla Solorzano are interns with KZUM.