Mason City holds its annual pride event

(ABC 6 News) – Mason City held its annual pride event Saturday, and this year it was bigger and better than before.

LGBTQ pride month is officially in June, but in Mason City, the annual celebrations are held in July.

Event organizer Meg Markos says it’s become a tradition for LGBTQ people in smaller towns to go to pride events in bigger cities during June.

“We just wanna make sure that everybody is available to come together, so we just bump it to July,” said Markos.

This year the event was moved to downtown Central Park to host a larger crowd, and the turnout did not disappoint.

“All day we’ve had a very good turnout of people of all kinds. People here that are straight, LGBTQ, people who are bi, whatever. They’re here and it has just been an awesome, amazing turnout,” said ally and first-time pride attendee, Anna Jones.

The day of activities began at 9 a.m. with a 5k fun run, followed by a pet parade.

Later in the afternoon, there was pride trivia and a youth talent show, and an open mic.

Different vendors and organizations had booths set up to show their support for the community, including a group of women giving out free hugs.

“I know that a lot of kids probably don’t get hugs at home when they come out as queer or LGBTQ, so it’s important I think to have people that will support them,” said Carol Meyer, host of the Free Hugs booth.

After a day full of fun in Central Park, the night ended with a drag show at the Plaza Pavilion.

Pride events are important for people in the community to have a space where they can be themselves without fear or judgment.

“It’s important for smaller communities like Mason City to host pride events because queer people live in Mason City, LGBTQ+ people live here,” said Markos.

In Mason City it wasn’t just LGBTQ people attending, but a large number of straight allies as well.

Pride events are a way for LGBTQ people to gather with other members of the community, but it’s also a place for anyone with an open mind to come have fun and meet different types of people.