Hundreds gathered for Franklin County’s Pride Fest.
The first pride festival ever in the county was held at Wilson College in Chambersburg with the theme “Coming Out” as a way to encourage the LGBTQ community to take part in a celebration of who they are.
“We have a lot of diversity that’s starting to come in,” said resident Miranda Bender. “But overall we’re a very traditional area so it’s nice to have a place where everybody can come together and celebrate pride.”
Members of the Franklin County Coalition for Progress and Franklin County Equality Center say they’ve been planning this day for awhile.
“I think the community here is larger than we think it is. The problem is without having things like this, without having bars…things like that…without any LGBTQ events it’s hard to tell how many there are here,” said Nathan Strayer, Co-chair of Franklin County Pride. “So that was one of the main reasons to do this. To bring everybody together.”
Hundreds took part in the festival including Hagerstown resident Natalie Tobery. It’s her third pride fest and she says she came to witness history.
“The fact that you can just go into a community that’s been shut down, put down all these years and for them to be open arms to everyone is just amazing. I’m a pride addict now. I can’t stop,” she said.
While some protested, even the vibrant colors on the flags didn’t dull in the sweltering heat.
“Love over hate any day,” said Diamond Joe.
“Don’t be scared to love who you want and be who you are,” said Tobery.
Organizers say they’re already considering next year’s activities.