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Southern Indiana Pride Festival returns to Jeffersonville this weekend

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The annual Southern Indiana Pride Festival returns this weekend in downtown Jeffersonville.

The Southern Indiana Pride Festival returns to downtown Jeffersonville this weekend. Event founder Evan Stoner said it’s meant to promote the area as a place where kindness and diversity thrive.

The festival started in 2016 as a way to support and promote members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies, and to bring the community together as a whole.

“What Pride does is it really pushes that notion of, ‘We're all human beings, we all have value, and we all deserve to live in our communities and be who we are,’” Stoner said.

He said Pride is about education and being authentic, and holding space for people to feel safe, welcome and valued.

This year's festivities kick off Friday night at The Alcove on Spring Street, with a 21 and over performance by FilthyGorgeous. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 9.

In lieu of a parade this year, Saturday’s events start with a pre-party from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at 300 Spring, with live music from Brass DeVille.

The main festival, which runs from 4 to 11 p.m., will include other performers, local food trucks and vendors, a family fun zone and a beer garden.

The festival is free to enter, and is all ages until 9 p.m., then switches to 18 and over. VIP tickets are available for $69 that grant access to a lounge area, four drink tickets, a meal at Papu Chos and a meet-and-greet with FilthyGorgeous.

Lyndsay Prichard is the community liaison for Wellstone Regional Hospital, the event’s presenting sponsor. She said Wellstone leaders want the organization to be known as a safe place, as an advocate against stigma of the LGBTQ+ community.

According to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention resource for LGBTQ+ youth, more than half of middle and high school students who identify as LGBTQ+ reported being bullied and more than a third have been physically threatened or harmed. LGBTQ+ youth are at a higher risk for suicide, being more than four times as likely to attempt it than their peers.

“We just want to make sure that people know that resources are available, know that they're supported and they are loved,” Prichard said, adding that’s what makes the event important for Southern Indiana. “I think being a smaller, more rural community…can be scary for a lot of folks [who] think that there aren't resources available to them, but they most certainly are.”

For the full lineup of this year’s festival, visit Southern Indiana Pride.

For more information on resources and support, visit The Trevor Project.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Louisville Public Media is a media sponsor of this year’s Southern Indiana Pride festival.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec, Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.