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Jade Knight dances in a rainbow body suit and accepts dollar bills during her drag performance at Ames Pridefest 2019. 

Ames Pride has announced that the annual street festival that is Ames Pridesfest has been canceled for the 2020 year.

In response to the ongoing challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, leaders of the annual Ames Pridefest celebration have canceled the festival this year.

“While we won’t be hosting Ames Pridefest in its traditional format this fall, we remain committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and celebratory environment to uplift all members of the LGBTQIA+ community in and around Ames,” said nicci port, co-chair of the Ames Pridefest Committee.

In a typical year, Ames Pridefest is an outdoor festival in downtown Ames, Iowa. The event usually showcases local food vendors, businesses and non-profit partners, family friendly educational programming and live performances.

“It provides space for visibility, community-building and celebration of people who hold diverse gender and sexual identities and attracts attendees from all over Iowa,” said A Norman, co-chair of the Ames Pridefest Committee. “It is the premier event for the Ames Pride non-profit and something we have great love for.”

port said Ames Pridefest is the only city-wide event in Ames produced by and for the LGBTQIA+ community.

“This was a tough decision to make, but we are looking forward to exploring new ways we can celebrate the Ames LGBTQIA+ community in the coming year,” Norman said. “While the event will likely look much different this year, we will continue to engage with all stakeholders to evaluate other ways we can celebrate the progress we’re making as members of this community.”

While the street festival itself will not take place this year, port and Norman said the Pridefest committee is seeking virtual alternatives that can still be accessible for all.

“The Pridefest 2020 committee is shifting their focus from a street festival to exploring options that will help Ames Pride meet the goals that were set for Pridefest, which includes the creation of an atmosphere where LGBTQIA+ people can be visible in the Ames community, build community with each other and be safe in doing so,” Norman said. “The committee will continue to meet, draw from the creativity they brought to our initial planning for Pridefest and produce something special for those we serve.”

port said people should continue to check Ames Pride’s website and social media for updates.

“Pridefest is a much-anticipated event for Ames Pride partners and a beloved product of the work our board and volunteers do, so disappointment is mostly what we are hearing in these first few days since the announcement,” port said. “But we're also receiving messages of support for what might be on the horizon and excitement around what could come from the creativity and thoughtfulness of the fantastic team that we have in place.”

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