Pride Fest 2019: Presidential Candidates, Record Attendance, Family Fun

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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The LGBTQ community is celebrating some big historical milestones this year: 10 years of marriage equality in Iowa and 50 years since the Stonewall riots that paved the way for pride celebrations.

Joining in on the festivities this year are eight presidential candidates: Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, John K Delaney, Kirsten Gillibrand, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, Jay Inslee, and Tim Ryan. Each candidate is participating in the ‘Meet the Candidate’ event at the People’s Plaza near the Capital beginning at 11 a.m.

That is also where Pete Buttigeig will be speaking for the ’10-years of Love’ Reception at noon.

Organizers said the presidential candidates will help bring national media attention to how inclusive Des Moines is.

“It just is showing and displaying the visibility of how great Des Moines is, we are always joked as a flyover state. But it is a good reminder to the nation, because we have almost every major news outlet coming this weekend which is going to be such a great opportunity to display how strong and supportive our community is but also how amazing our LGBTQ community is,” Capital City Pride Board Vice President Jen Carruthers said.

This weekend Capital City Pride organizers are expecting their largest turn out in their 41-years with 20,000 people expected to attend.

You are sure to see lots of rainbows but something new you might see are pops of pink. Capital City Pride is asking allies of the LGBTQ community to wear pink this weekend.

“This is really just a reminder that every LGBTQ person has an ally in their life who has helped them come out or supports them on a day to day basis or just is an ongoing person in their life. Allies are really important and so we just wanted to have a visual reminder that they are here, they support the LGBTQ community and we appreciate them,” Capital City Pride Board President Dan Janson said.

The Pride Festival is more than just street food and parades, there are events almost every hour.

“We have really tried to hone in on every aspect of our community so there is something for everyone to do. Whether it’s going to a family kid zone, or if you don’t like to drink there is a fun run and yoga, there is a pet parade if you don’t have kids, I mean we really are trying to get a little bit of something for everyone,” Carruthers said.

There are three main headliners performing this weekend as well as a number of other musicians and this year, every performer is a member of the LGBTQ community.

“Having that presence of LGBTQ headliners I think makes a big statement, we are really trying to, in this 10 years of marriage equality and 50 years of Stonewall, we have people out there within the community, we don’t have to go outside of it,” Carruthers said.

For a full list of the events for PrideFest 2019 go to

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