Celebrating the rainbow: Magic Pride Festival returns to Madison

MADISON, Wis. — All sexualities and genders were celebrated Sunday afternoon during Madison’s annual Magic Pride Festival, hosted by the OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center.

“It’s a very inspiring day,” said Steve Starkey. He’s the Executive Director of the OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center. “It allows us to all come together on one day and be out and proud.”

Sunday’s event featured 110 vendors and a couple of dozen performers at Warner Park.

“It’s about being authentic. And about feeling proud of the community we are part of, and proud of ourselves.”

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One of today’s event attendees was Emma Bensche. She identifies as transgender and said that the event is a welcoming place for her community.

“They accept people who are struggling to come out or just be who they are,” said Bensche. “I really love it.”

Sunday’s event was the first Magic Pride Fest in-person since the start of the pandemic. Back in 2019, about five thousand people attended the celebration. Starkey says the organization expected to see the same turnout this time around.

LGBTQ Pride celebrations are normally held in June during Pride Month. However, the OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center holds its event in August to accommodate scheduling conflicts. Starkey agrees that no matter the month of the celebration, it’s important for this community to feel welcomed and represented.

“A lot of people are closeted and don’t feel comfortable in being who they are and expressing that to the world,” said Starkey. “It’s important  for us all to feel connected and be proud of who we are.”

More information about the Outreach LGBTQ+ Community Center is available on its website.