Lexington Pride Festival kicks off downtown

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Lexington Pride Festival kicked off Friday night on the Courthouse Plaza downtown.

Expanded from one day to two, this year's event is bigger and better than ever, said 2019 marketing chair, Sarah Brown.

"There's definitely more booths, more vendors, more non-profits, people to talk to," Brown said.

Helping make it all happen is Tiffany Dupont Novak. She's this year's merchandise chair, and also a straight ally.

"I have a lot of folks who identify as LGBTQ and they're really, really, really, really important to me, so this is a great way for me to support," Novak said.

This year's festival commemorates two milestones for Lexington's LGBTQ community.

Friday marks 50 years since the rebellion at New York's Stonewall Inn. Five decades ago, people at the bar resisted a police raid, sparking days of protests.

"It wasn't the first gay rights movement to ever happen, but it's the one that sparked the modern-day LGBTQ movement," said Brown.

Next month, Lexington's fairness ordinance turns 20. Sarah Cheek is transgender and said back then was a different time.

"It was sometimes dangerous just to go downtown to the bar. You didn't know what was going to happen," Cheek said, "and so it means a lot to have these kinds of support and rights and for people to see us as equals and that we're contributing members to society as well."

Organizers said the pride festival is a celebration of how far Lexington has come, to be a more inclusive place for everyone.

"Lexington just has a great, great community, not only gay people and people on the LGBTQ spectrum but straight allies," Brown said. "It's just a very comfortable and welcoming place, and we come downtown to celebrate that once a year."

The festival continues Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

You can get more information about the festival here.