Sioux Falls Pride Week kicks off, remembering 50 years since Stonewall Riots

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Pride flags are flying throughout downtown Sioux Falls just one sign that it's pride week here in the city. June is LGBTQ Pride Month, a time to mark just how far the community has come.

It has already been a week of celebration with more to come. This form of pride can be considered as a modern day protest, but in a positive way. 2019 marks 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, an event that gave the LGBTQ community a larger voice in society.

Pride flags line the streets of downtown Sioux Falls as we inch closer to this weekend’s festival in Terrace Park and Sioux Falls' first ever pride parade. It takes a whole year in advance to plan something so important.

"It is finally here and we are so excited and are sitting in a really good spot," Sioux Falls Pride President, Quinn Kathner said.

"A lot of it is just making sure we plan for all of the details making sure we have entertainment and vendors and the staff lined up," Sioux Falls Pride Vice President, Todd Kruse said.

Other events on the calendar include karaoke, drag bingo and a pride pub crawl. Organizers want everyone to know that everyone is welcome.

"This festival is for everyone you don't have to be gay, lesbian, bi. You can identify however you identify," Kruse said.

Pride month has seen growing support in many cities, but it hasn't always been celebrated this openly.

This year marks five decades since the Stonewall Riots when police raided a gay bar in New York City and attempted to arrest people for being gay. Marches and protests for gay rights followed.

"We couldn't think of a better way to memorialize the uprising and by having a parade in celebration of our LGBT community right here in Sioux Falls," Kathner said.

"It makes this event so important and this year so important because we get to look back on everything that has happened since then that was such as monumentus occasion," Kruse said.

Although the fight for equality and visibility continues, Kruse and Kathner say this week is important to celebrate in a positive way.

"We have such a diverse community right here in Sioux Falls within our LGBTQA+ community and it's all about making sure that everyone feels included, safe and valued," Kathner said.

Many great events will be going on this week including some well-known contestants performing at Club David from RuPaul's Drag Race.

Sioux Falls' first ever pride parade kicks off Saturday at 10 in the morning in downtown Sioux Falls followed by a festival at Terrace Park.

New this year Sioux Falls Pride will also have a way of making the event more accessible. The day of the event people can call for a valet service to come and pick up and take you to Terrace Park for those with limited abilities. Kathner said this is a way to foster inclusion for all.