People of PrideFest: Thousands flock to Brown’s Island for Pride

From Left, Michelle Livigne, Godfrey’s Angels, Miss Godfrey’s Monet Dupree, Nairobi Chanel Ova Snow, and Ongina take their bows before Betty Who comes onstage. Photo by Liza Hazelwood

Hannah Eason, News Editor

Thousands of people went to Brown’s Island on Saturday for PrideFest. The day included many vendors, drag shows and members of the LBGTQ community from all over Virginia.

From left, Marielle Hankerson (Spanish and Urban Planning), Emily Riccio (pre-nursing), Elijah Holloman (Business Foundations), Miranda Davis (Communication Arts), Gracie Quilon (Biology) and Haley Culhane (Biochemistry) enjoy PrideFest before taking photos at the Virginia Is For Lovers sign. Photo by Liza Hazelwood


Peaches Emery talks about their “chosen family” experience in the LGBT+ community. They performed “You Should See Me In a Crown” by Billie Eilish at the lip-sync competition at the Youth Pride Pavilion. Photo by Liza Hazelwood

“You have your blood relatives, but your ‘chosen family’ is a common term used in the gay community as someone that you either came out to first, or things like that,” Peaches Emery said. “It’s kind of like a family that you build with your friends and everything. It’s just such a beautiful thing.”

Volunteers Steven Prokopcha and Vidhi Phadumdeo pose behind giveaways and their donation bucket for VA PrideFest. Photo by Liza Hazelwood

“I love attending Prides. I’ve been to so many, but it’s different when you get to be the person that makes people smile when they walk in,” Vidhi Phadumdeo said. “I love when people are like, ‘Oh my god, hey, welcome.'”


President Natasha Crosby and Lucas Baker promote the Richmond LGBTQ Chamber, which supports LGBTQ-owned small businesses in Central Virginia. Photo by Liza Hazelwood

“At the very bare minimum, the business community overall is one that’s usually diverse,” Natasha Crosby said. “Say, we want to make sure that all businesses have the same access to the resources and the things that are available here in Richmond.”

Stonewall Sports’ William Granger hugs Lam Nguyn near the end of the day. Photo by Liza Hazelwood

“I’ve been more involved with [Stonewall Sports] for about a year, and it’s been awesome because I don’t do the whole night club dancing scene,” William Granger said. “I’m not a big drinker. So being able to find my community somewhere that is not like drinking, dancing-related has been really awesome for me.”

President Myles Brown of Hampton University’s MOSAIC club and members join up to celebrate pride in Richmond. Photo by Liza Hazelwood

“That’s literally the only month they’re supportive, where they put out all this merchandise that’s rainbow, but none of it goes back to the actual community,” MOSAIC member Na’kia Hughes said. “So really they’re just using us as a way to, you know, get more money.”

Charlie Carr and Katy Elaine from Phree Hugs offer hugs to people who come to PrideFest. Photo by Liza Hazelwood

“It’s all about being happy with who you are and being accepted for who you are,” Charlie Carr said. “That we need more of, and we need more of that in the general public. So also as a bisexual man, I just wanted to show some love for the movement itself.”

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