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Gay Pride Festival seeks to raise area's awareness
By KYLE DEARDORFF
Special to The Sun
Published: Saturday, October 18, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 1:08 a.m.
David Nye and his partner, Dick Hunter, have been traveling 40 miles to Gainesville nearly every Sunday for the past two years. The Ocala couple attends services at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church downtown , where Nye said they appreciate an open, nonjudging congregation.
On Saturday, the couple manned the church's table at this year's Pride Festival. Holy Trinity was just one of many local and statewide organizations and vendors in attendance at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza in downtown Gainesville.
"We're just open and welcoming to all people," said fellow Trinity Episcopal member William Deitenbeck.
Saturday's Pride Festival was preceded by the seventh annual Pride Parade, which meandered east down University Avenue for about seven blocks, making its way to the Community Plaza.
The plaza was full of booths and tents selling purses, jewelry, crafts and an array of rainbow-colored knick-knacks. The main stage served up live music, entertainment and spoken word performances throughout the day.
According to Terry Fleming, co-president of the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida, the festival usually attracts about 3,000 people over the course of the day. Fleming anticipated a similar attendance Saturday.
With the Nov. 4 election barely two weeks away, the Fairness for all Families Coalition was at the festival representing its "Vote No On 2" campaign.
The amendment, which will be on the Nov. 4 ballot, seeks to define marriage in the state of Florida as a union between one man and one woman.
Among other groups in attendance were Planned Parenthood, the University of Florida's Pride Student Union and the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida.
"The goal of Pride is to raise awareness," Fleming said.
Many people don't realize that gay people are all around, Fleming said, they are your everyday acquaintances, coworkers, neighbors and friends.
Gay Pride Festival seeks to raise area's awareness | Gainesville.com | The Gainesville Sun | Gainesville, FL
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