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Crowd of hundreds braves the rain for Charlottesville Pride

The Charlottesville Pride Festival on Sunday brought out hundreds to Ix Art Park in the city, displaying a rainbow of genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations in celebration of the community’s diversity.

"It’s always been a source of pride that we accept everyone as they are," Albemarle Supervisor Bea LaPisto-Kirtley told The Daily Progress as she took a break from chatting with a silver-haired male couple.

Although a light rain dampened its last two hours — and a gaggle of drag queens on stage — event organizer and acting President of the Charlottesville Pride Network Nick Morrow, sporting a rainbow ascot, seemed undaunted.

"It’s raining a little bit," Morrow told The Daily Progress. "It’s fine."

Nearby children clambered over the park’s bronze elephants, a boy threw a Frisbee and a mother breast-fed her child.

"It’s been really great to see everyone out here," said Morrow. "People of all ages."

Like Morrow and many others, the mother-child duo of Conni LeFon and Rhenn LeFon were sporting some rainbow gear of their own. The proud mother said she used a Cricut vinyl cutter to make the "Token Straight Friend" T-shirt she was wearing.

"I am here to support my child, and I am so proud that they have grown to be into the awesome child that they are," she told The Daily Progress. "They have made me a better person by showing me just how rich and wonderful life is when you don’t have a narrow point of view."

They and them have been come the oft-adopted pronouns for people who identify as trans, such as Ivy-based Klaus Evirytt, who was selling an array of items at his Detritus stand including $3 dandelion sticker, which they said carried a special meaning.

"I admire dandelions because you will find them growing anywhere that they absolutely can: in the middle of concrete, sidewalks, wherever," Evirytt told The Daily Progress. "You need a lot of resiliency to be a trans person out in the world."

It wasn’t just the 54 tented vendors doing a brisk trade.

"It was madness this morning," North American Sake Brewery manager Robyn Wetherhorn told The Daily Progress.

She said the restaurant was coping with the recent news that Ix Art Park would trim its event schedule next year due to budget woes.

"We’re taking it in stride," said Wetherhorn. "We’ll miss them being able to do quite as much, but hopefully they can get back on it soon."

Two teenage girls were dressed in the familiar khaki uniform of the group long known as the Boy Scouts; they are members of the new all-girl Troop 3125 of Scouts BSA in Ivy.

"We’re here to show that scouting is more open now," said Emerson Ter Borg.

"It’s more inclusive now to people other than boys," said troop-mate Sophia Baker.

Nearby, Zach Levy was offering voter registration and said the C’ville Dems had a big day at this same location 24 hours earlier when it played host to its regular Saturday farmer’s market.

"Yesterday, we broke our record," said Levy. "Twenty-nine people."

In an election year in a state where the governor recently issued policies directing public school students to use facilities that match their biological sex and restricted nickname and pronoun choices, it is perhaps unsurprising several progressive politicians took the stage at Pride. They included Democratic contender in the 55th Virginia House District Amy Laufer.

"This is such a fun community event," Laufer told the Daily Progress, as a folk group sang "Shady Grove," a bluegrass standard. "It really brings out so many folks.

"And when you think about it politically," she continued, "it’s about making sure the governor and his administration don’t put in any more restrictions."


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