The East Village was filled with pride and positivity this weekend as people flocked to the capitol to celebrate pride, love and acceptance.
The Capital City Pridefest 2017 took place in Des Moines from June 9-11 and was filled with live music, dancing, drag shows and a parade. Pridefest, often called "Pride," is an annual event put on by Capital City Pride, an LGBT group based out of Des Moines.
The festival kicked off on Thursday with a performance from the Des Moines Gay Men's Chorus, who also performed on the main stage Sunday afternoon. Click here to see a video of their parody of Belle, from Beauty and the Beast.
Rebecca Gruber, who has conducted the group for 11 years, was awarded the Grand Marshal award. When asked why she conducts the group, she spoke about building relationships.
"The older I get the more I understand that this life is about relationships," Gruber said.
She explained how the choir is a way to build relationships, not only with these men who may need it, but also to build a connection within the community. She added that it is also great fun to be surrounded by men's singing voices.
The festival continued on Friday with a grill out at Blazin' Saddles, as well as another performance from the Des Moines Gay Men's Chorus.
On Saturday and Sunday, the gates opened to Pridefest at 12 p.m. and allowed people to wander around and visit various booths which sold merchandise, food, candy and clothes. There are also a variety of performances from singers and dancers throughout the day.
The 38th annual Capital City Pride Parade happened on Sunday as well. Over 20 organizations marched down Grand Avenue and Locust Street in support of Pride month.
One parade-goer, Kathy O'Donnell, has been attending the parade and festival almost every single year since she moved to Des Moines about 15 years ago from Indianapolis.
When asked why she attends these events every year, she said "You get one time out here. You see a lot of people. You get to see friends. It's nice that we can all get together and celebrate our similarities."
After the parade, O'Donnell planned to check out a concert and some of the vendors downtown.
For other people, this was their first Pride event ever. Kjerstin Hasselblad, a sophomore at DMACC, is a first year Pride-goer. When asked what she likes about the event, she first said "being surrounded by gay people" and then followed up with "I don't have to worry about what I have to say or do. You're just accepted. It feels amazing."
It was also Lauryn Brown's first Pride event. Brown said that they like the "acceptance and positivity" and that everyone is "colorful and smiley."
Several Iowa State students were also in attendance of the event, including Vice President of the Student Body Cody Smith.
"I love Pride month because it's a time for those who are often overlooked or brushed aside to celebrate their own unique story of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender," Smith said. "Today I saw hundreds of Iowans celebrating the truest versions of themselves and I was ecstatic to stand with them."