(Lander, Wyo.) – By any measure, Lander’s first ever Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Pride Picnic at city park was an overwhelming success.
“This has been the largest event in the state so far, including Cheyenne and Casper,” said Matthew Baker representing the Human Rights Campaign, which set up an information table at the event. Baker was gathering signatures in support of the federal Employment Non Discrimination Act. The minimum crowd count at its peak was about 250 people.
“This is so inspiring, it’s fantastic,” said organizer Liz Hardwick. “This gives people an opportunity to express the kind of community we want to live in,” she said. “We have lots of allies here, people who stand for love and acceptance.”
The picnic included a number of side events, including a just over 5K run around town, a bicycle ride and, at the park, a croquet tournament, volleyball, live music with the Low Water String Band, a piñata for the kids, and a pot luck picnic. Participants in the event included a trio of men on an American vacation from France, and state residents from Riverton, Jackson, Casper and Laramie, to mention a few.
The event began with a short downpour of rain and claps of thunder, but that didn’t dampen spirits at all. With all the rainbow attire, decorations and flags adorning the picnic shelter and park area, a real rainbow, after the rain, made its appearance.
Many in the crowd remarked on the rainbow of diversity attending the event, from the local and reservation communities, representatives from some local churches, politicians who made an appearance, young folks, seasoned citizens, couples with kids, folks with their dogs and such.
“This is such a great turnout for our first pride picnic, which showed it was time,” said Curtis Tronolone and Alyse Guarino, the MCs for the event, who chatted with County 10 as the festivities were about to begin.
In addition to the Human Rights Campaign Fund, the Fremont County Democrats had a table at the picnic. Spotted in the crowd during the event were three elected officials, St. Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander; St. Rep. Lloyd Larson, R-Lander and County Commissioner Keja Whiteman, D-Arapahoe. Former St. Rep. Del McOmie, was in attendance as he is a candidate for Lander Mayor, and Sergio Maldonado a Democrat seeking nomination in Senate District 25 was also there.
Photos by Ernie Over, Click to enlarge.