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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 30, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 13
3,000 turn out for Starkville Pride
Section One
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3,000 turn out for Starkville Pride

Organizers thank City Council for trying to ban event

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Three thousand people turned out for a Pride Parade in Starkville, Mississippi, after the event was originally banned by the City Council.

When organizers filed suit against the city, officials relented and authorized the event. Although Pride organizers said they expected a modest 200 people, the publicity surrounding the City Council's action swelled crowds to 15 times that number.

'I never expected to have this many people,' Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said. Spruill was a vocal supporter of the parade.

'Somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 people, and this would never have happened if we didn't have the controversy, so I'm almost grateful for the controversy in the sense it became something more than it ever would have been, and it became something we can be very proud of, with no issues associated with it.'

The day's events started in the morning with a Queer Art Market in a local park, followed by the parade through town.

Parade organizers and partners Bailey McDaniel and Emily Turner led the group through downtown Starkville, with many carrying balloons and signs and singing songs.

McDaniel said the event represented something different to each individual who participated.

McDaniel and Turner both had their parents come down in support of the Pride Parade, but McDaniel said many aren't so lucky and need a community to provide support.

'Emily and I were there, and Emily's parents came, marched in the parade, and after the parade they had ally buttons on and it just brought me to my knees,' McDaniel said. 'Every other person in the parade has some kind of moment like that.'

Following the parade, McDaniel said the whole point was for everyone to feel accepted and be themselves.

'I think it sets a good vibe for what this annual event will be,' McDaniel said. 'I feel like Starkville is so much better for this, and I am honored that I was able to help progress the city as far as it has.'

Although Starkville is located in rural eastern Mississippi, it is the home of Mississippi State University, and its Pride Parade was scheduled in March to include college students who would not be at school in June.

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