Laramie’s first pridefest is underway.

Pridefest organizer Robert West says that while other Wyoming cities have had pridefest celebrations, notably Cheyenne and Casper, this is the first official pridefest event for the city of Laramie.

“This is really a great moment in time for Wyoming and particularly for Laramie,” West said. “People are really happy about this and looking forward to having this in their own community of Laramie.”

West said the celebration will include a drag show, dance party, potluck and a candlelight vigil for Matthew Shepard.

“We want to make sure that Matthew Shepard is acknowledged in any sort of pride celebration,” West said. “His legacy and his history is entrenched in not only Wyoming culture but Laramie culture specifically. We want to make sure we are talking about that.”

West said the first event of pridefest is happening tonight at the Albany County Public Library.

“The Albany County library reached out to us and wanted to host a drag story-time,” West said. “This is part of their weekly Thursday evening story event.”

West said the Laramie Dragonettes will be hosting the drag story-hour at 6 p.m..

West said the goal of the pridefest is to create a space for the LGBTQ community in Laramie to come together and celebrate and also to welcome the general Laramie community to join.

“It’s to create a space where we can be ourselves and to create a sense of community among ourselves,” West said. “That’s the number one thing. The number two thing is to also incorporate the broader Laramie community into that and say ‘queer people are here, they exist here, and we want you to be a part of that.'”

West said the pridefest is also to remember how far the LGBTQ community has come.

The pridefest will begin tonight and will run through Saturday, June 24.

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