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    Ozarks Pridefest brings diversity and controversy

    By Makayla Strickland,


    SPRINGFIELD, MO.- This year’s Ozarks Pridefest marked another year of celebrating diversity in the Ozarks on Saturday. The theme for this year, “It’s giving: Revolution,” centered around the beginning of the fight for LGBTQ+ individuals.

    Saturday’s Pridefest was filled with those celebrating the community.

    The day began with a parade to the downtown square where live music, vendors and educational opportunities were available. Lyndsey Williams is from Arkansas and says events like this can be for anyone.

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    “Unfortunately, the world isn’t made for everybody,” Williams said. “And so I think for any marginalized group, it’s really important to have just like one day or one event where you can feel safe and sort of celebrate that part of yourself.”

    Earlier this month, KOLR 10 spoke with a state representative for Christian County , Jamie Gragg, who had concerns regarding Ozarks Pridefest and what is considered family-friendly.

    “There’s gyrating, there’s spinning, there’s twisting that is putting things in front of kids that is back, and, you know, I know we hate hearing this. Back in my day, it would have been extremely provocative,” Gragg said. “Basically go to a strip bar and this is what you’re seeing these people do in front of children.“

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    Randy Acklin was one of many who brought children to today’s Pridefest and says he wants his son to be able to see what is in the world.

    “This is very family-friendly and kids are going to have so much fun,” Acklin said. “He needs to be exposed to everything that is out there. And there shouldn’t be any hate. There should be nothing. And I want him to understand that.”

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