LOOGOOTEE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– A year after the city of Loogootee was embroiled in a controversy surrounding downtown Pride decorations during the month of June, organizers are preparing for the first-ever Loogootee Pride Festival this weekend.
Tracy Brown-Salsman is one of the organizers for the event, and he said it’s a long time coming for the community.
“It means [a tremendous amount] to me,” he said. “I just wish this was going on when I was growing up. But it means a lot, we have a lot of youth coming around to us, telling us how excited they are this is happening. They’re realizing they are not alone anymore.”
Organizers got approval from city council in December, according to Brown-Salsman. The festival will be Saturday, June 10th starting at 10 a.m. in the town square. He said they have spent the past six months getting things ready and they will have numerous performers, vendors and resources for those in attendance.
Lyn Knies, another organizer for the event, moved to Loogootee two years ago, and she said she was happy to see smaller cities hosting Pride festivals.
“Being from a small town in Indiana, which wasn’t much different than this one, it’s good to see that the small towns are finally going to come along and be more accepting and allowing people to be their true selves,” she said.
Brown-Salsman said he has put the controversy from last June behind him, and this festival was about the other members of the LGBTQ+ community around Loogootee.
“It’s not about me, it never was about me or my husband,” he said. It was about the community and bringing the LGBTQ+ community together.”
He hopes the event will become an annual tradition in the community. As for what he’s looking forward to most, Brown-Salsman didn’t hesitate:
“The smiles,” he said. “The smiles and the relief on people’s faces, they’re not alone anymore.”
More information about this year’s event and subsequent gatherings can be found on the Loogootee Pride Facebook page.