Bakersfield hosts annual local Pride event

A poster board that displayed at the Free Mom Hugs tent with Post-It notes of encouraging words, put there by anyone that attendees who wanted to share words of kindness.

Mariah Olivarez, Reporter

This year Bakersfield held its annual Pride festival which included of games, food and an exciting ticket drawing on Oct. 12, at Stramler Park in Downtown Bakersfield. The theme of the festival was retro and revolved around the slogan “Celebrate the past…Create the future.”

Both those who a part of the LGBTQ community and community supporters attended the event. There were bright colors, people of many different backgrounds, and children playing with one another. The smell of barbeque, ice cream, and baked goods surrounded the event. As attendees walked further into the festival they could hear the live music, and the laughter becoming louder.
As eyes continued to wander while feet guided through the crowd, people were playing bean bag toss, adults gathering at the beer section, children and teens wearing flags that consisted of rainbows and writing around their shoulders as if they were capes and the drag queens that stood ground in confidence conversing with everyone they seen.

Dozens of canopies were scattered across the grass, some were owned by people with companies like Sephora, the Democratic Women of America and Baskin Robbins while others were owned by people selling bracelets, flags, T-shirts and a tent that had a ticket drawing for 5-tickets to Disneyland.

Amongst all of these booths was a tent owned by Free Mom Hugs, which is a company started a by a woman named Sarah Cunningham. Amber Chrissakis, the individual who is a part of Free Mom Hugs explained that Cunningham started the company to help those who identify themselves as gay, bisexual, or transgender, because her son identified himself as gay and she was tired of the judgement, so she started the company for change.

All of the people that attended the event had big smiles on their faces and conversed with one another whether they knew each other or not, “I love it, it’s awesome to come out and see people be free and be themselves.” Natalie Melendez, a guest of the festival, said.

Not only were people of the LGBTQ community being supported and encouraged to thrive, immigrants, black people and women were supported at this event as well. This event aimed to welcome all no matter the race, gender, or belief that one had.