Colorful characters celebrate Pride Month.
Founded by Flagler Palm Coast High School graduate Eryn Harris in 2020, the family-friendly Flagler Pride festival was held June 11 in Town Center, followed by the Pulse memorial vigil, on June 12 in Flagler Beach.
Though Flagler County is known as politically conservative, there is a thriving LGBTQ+ community, Harris said, and she wanted to provide spaces to show that the community does exist here.
Erica Rivera joined the Flagler Pride team for this year’s events and has a longer history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community of Flagler County. She was among those who originally brought a Pulse Memorial Vigil to Flagler County in 2016, as well as creating an adult social once a month at Moonrise Brewing Co. featuring various LGBTQ+ talent and events.
"Surprisingly, we have never had any counterprotests at any of our events, although we have had occasional Facebook posts taking jabs at us from local political figures," Harris said. "Flagler Pride hosts multiple events every month, but the family-friendly festival in June is always our biggest event of the year. We are always sure to hold a Pulse memorial vigil walk each year on the same day it happened in 2016, June 12, remembering the 49 lives lost to gun violence in one of our neighboring counties. So while the festival doesn't tie into Pulse, we do have a Pulse event the next day. We are extremely glad to see recognition from Florida's government in remembrance of the 49 people we lost that day."
Kristy Dunn, director of marketing and membership for the Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce, also addressed the crowd.
"As an ally to the community, I applaud you for your courage, for your authenticity," said Dunn, who also is a certified Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) facilitator for inclusive leadership, and holds an MBA in management and strategy. "You’re willing to stand on who you are. ... That matters."