As the last notes of the national anthem rang through the air, drumbeats filled Porter Park on June 15 as Rexburg’s Pride event, hosted by non-profit Flourish Point, kicked off.

To the drumbeat, speakers encouraged attendees to try their best every day and live their truth along with other words of encouragement.

An American flag waves next to the stage at Rexburg Pride.

An American flag waves next to the stage at Rexburg Pride. Photo credit: Chester Chan

“Every single one of you is a star in this world that makes the galaxy a little bit brighter,” said McKellen Golder, a recent graduate from Madison High School.

Another speaker expressed love not only for members of the LGBTQ+ community, but also for their allies.

A family at the Rexburg Pride event in Porter Park.

A family at the Rexburg Pride event in Porter Park. Photo credit: Chester Chan

“There are bricks being thrown at this community,” said an introductory speaker. “If you have not been hit by any bricks, that means that you’re not standing close enough. We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to stand with these guys.”

The Family Crisis Center, Thrifted Lennons and Namaste Nook were a few of the booths at the event.

A Rexburg Pride event attendee matches their pet.

A Rexburg Pride event attendee matches their pet. Photo credit: Chester Chan

“I love that this particular Pride (event) is very much family-friendly and about coming together for loving ourselves and loving each other and not about weird sex lives and stuff like that,” said Dakota Short, a Rigby native who identifies as non-binary.

Short appreciated seeing support grow over the years as she has attended Rexburg Pride.

A mini attendee hangs out near the drum circle.

A mini attendee hangs out near the drum circle. Photo credit: Chester Chan

Short loved the new additions to the event such as painting and weaving crafts.

The event provided games and crafts for all present.

The event provided games and crafts for all present. Photo credit: Chester Chan

A “Best of Pride Fit Check,” or outfit contest, recognized outstanding dress from several categories, such as best use of the pride flag or best hair and makeup.

An event favorite is the Unity Walk, where participants walk one lap around the park to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

One pride event attendee catches a ride piggy-back style during the unity walk.

Attendees celebrate individuality and unity during the Unity Walk. Photo credit: Chester Chan

Local musicians performed at the event such as The Wandering Troupe Mystique, a group of dancers who perform at Renaissance fairs, Ella Stubbs, a guitarist and current BYU-I student and others.

Attendees mentioned a much calmer feel to the event than in previous years. Some attributed that to the increased security presence.

Police in and out of uniform patrolled the event.

Police in and out of uniform patrolled the event. Photo credit: Chester Chan

Three protestors could be seen walking around the edges of the event holding the Gadsden — “Don’t tread on me” — and the American flag, more were seen at the Beehive Pavillion away from the event stage.

Near the east sidewalk of Porter Park, one could see a structure made of what appeared to be square cardboard cells covered with different colored transparent plastic erected in a structure people could walk through. This is “The Sanctuary” constructed by artist Doug Staker.

Pride-goers held various flag throughout the event.

Pride-goers held various flag throughout the event. Photo credit: Chester Chan

“The architecture and the act of witnessing act together to create this sacred space on the sidewalk at the Pride Festival,” according to Staker’s website.

Pride event attendees holding a sign.

Pride event attendees holding a sign. Photo credit: Chester Chan

Messages and personal anthems written by visitors covered the walls inside.

Staker takes “The Sanctuary” to different pride events. He was recently in Salt Lake City and plans on going to New York next.