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Dover Post
  • Delaware Pride Festival held in Dover for the first time

  • Despite Saturday’s gloomy weather, Dover’s Legislative Mall was filled with crowds, food trucks and performers for Saturday’s Delaware Pride Festival, which celebrated the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community in the First State.
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  • Despite Saturday’s gloomy weather, Dover’s Legislative Mall was filled with crowds, food trucks and performers for Saturday’s Delaware Pride Festival, which celebrated the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community in the First State.
    For the first time in the festival’s 17 year history, the event was held in Dover and the relocation was not a coincidence, according to festival spokesman Michael Tersigni.
    “With everything going on with gay marriage being legalized, we thought it was a good idea [to host it there],” he said. “Plus, it’s kind of right slap in middle of the state. We thought we’d get people from Rehoboth Beach and people from the New Castle area and Wilmington. But the main reason is because it is the state capital and we’ve never been there before. It’s something new we’re trying.”
    Previously, the festival had been held in Rehoboth Beach and in New Castle. The event typically takes more than six months to plan, with a lot of effort put into securing a location and coordinating all of the performers and vendors, he said.
    This year, there was some concern about the rain keeping vendors and crowds away, but Tersigni said the festival went well.
    Saturday’s event was packed with performers, such as the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware and Miss Delaware Teen Idol Ryshja Foster. There also were plenty of vendors and food truck on hands to keep festival goers fed and entertained.
    Several churches also had a presence at Pride Fest, including Newark United Methodist.
    “I think it’s important because in general a lot of press you see on various denominations isn’t very welcoming to the gay and lesbian population or the LGBT community,” said Ned Perwo, the director of music ministries for the church. “If our individual congregations don’t get out there, then the word that we’re welcoming won’t.”
    Pride festivals such as the one held in Dover last weekend are also important for the LGBT community, said Wilmington resident Jason Riggs.
    “It lets the public know that we’re not hiding anymore and we have a reason to be proud,” he said. “We are everyday people, just like everybody else. Yes, our orientation is a little bit different, but that doesn’t mean we are different people. I think it’s important to have pride festivals because it shows that we are their next door neighbor that they just never would have known.”
     

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