Jun. 26—People of all ages celebrated Pride Month during the 11th annual Augusta Pride Festival at the Augusta Common on Saturday afternoon.
"Our goal is to continue to be visible (and) continue to make sure that people know that there is purpose, there is meaning — there are people out there," said Michael Barnard Jenkins, the vice president and festival coordinator of Augusta Pride.
This year, the team was able to plan the weeklong celebration in six weeks. The event featured music, dancing, food, drinks and a host of vendors selling Pride merchandise.
Jenkins said they had one of their best turnouts Friday night at the Beats on Broad: Blue Party with around 5,000 people in attendance.
"It is important to make sure we have the platform for the community to find the resources they need. We have HIV testing, we're doing COVID vaccinations — most people don't know all the resources (available to them) in Augusta," Jenkins said.
Tamera Clark, a member of the LGBT community, attended the festival for the first time. She was excited to meet new people like her in the community.
"It was important to come out to support gay pride, especially in the South, in the Bible Belt. I feel like it is important that we have these festivals so we can include the community," Clark said.
Jenkins added it is important for people to know they are not alone and that there exists a community.
Augusta Pride's weeklong festivities conclude Sunday with the Ain't Misbehavin' Pool Party at Parliament Resort. It will be open from noon to 5 p.m. for those aged 21 and older, with a $10 cover fee.
For more information about Augusta Pride events, visit their website at prideaugusta.org.
Shakailah Heard covers Education. Follow her on Twitter :@HeardShakailah.