CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The Southern Illinois Pride Festival planning committee is gearing up for a three-day long celebration in downtown Carbondale beginning June 1.
The committee's GoFundMe campaign raised $700 from people all over the area to cover the festival's basic needs such as permits, bathrooms, trash cans and other things to make the event more exciting like a dunk tank, a bouncy house, and refreshments.
Other southern Illinois businesses have also donated money along with private donors who have helped raise over $2000 dollars in total for the festival.
They felt that this was a great opportunity for the people of southern Illinois to throw a more intimate festival for those in the area who may not be able to make it to the bigger festivals like they hold every year in St. Louis for Pride Month.
More than 20 local and regional organizations are slated to participate.
The event will feature a pride walk from the Gaia House to the Carbondale Pavilion, movie screenings at the Varsity and long branch cafe and live music and drag shows at the Gaia House and The Street Bar.
All the money raised is going to the Rainbow Cafe, a youth center in Carbondale that helps provide a safe space for high school age gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youths. there is also a special service at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, in conjunction with the Church of the Good Shepherd who is helping to sponsor the event along with many other events.
Christina Garnette who has the Honor of being the Mistress of Ceremonies of the Gaia House youth party spoke about how important this event is for the younger LGBTQ community.
"They need to know that especially the older community, the gay community, the transgender community are here for them, we are here to support them, we are here to talk to them anytime they need us," Garnette said. "We've gone through it already and we are here and we are strong and we've built a strong community and they need to know that there's always someone there they can turn to."