Under partly sunny skies and a cool breeze during the early part of Saturday afternoon (June 22), the first Pettis County LGBTQ+ Pride Picnic took place at Liberty Park in Sedalia.

By 1:30, approximately a hundred people had gathered at Liberty Park to take part in the free picnic. Event organizer, Heather Hughes, said the overall goal of the picnic is "to increase visibility for the LGBTQ+ community in rural Missouri and promote love." She emphasized about twenty volunteers helped to plan the event over the past 3 weeks.

With pride flags and trim waving from two shelter houses at Liberty Park, the picnic offered a wide variety of activities for people of all ages. A craft booth was set up, along with face painting, a selfie station, music, snacks, games, hula hooping, an art display from NoBro and a quiet area where people could nurse babies if needed, relax and gather their thoughts.

A raffle was also held which featured donated items from area residents with the proceeds benefiting PROMO.

According to the PROMO website, part of their mission is advocating for LGBTQ equality through legislative action, electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and community education in Missouri.

Representatives from suicide prevention awareness group DeFeet.org, were in attendance as well.

DeFeet.org was created to help Pettis County by facilitating support groups, having events to promote awareness and resources already available, facilitate in putting programs into the schools and provide prescription assistance.

Hughes hopes the Pride Picnic serves as an opportunity to network and promote inclusion among the LGBTQ+ community in the midwest. Additionally she indicated that people from Columbia, Kansas City, Hughesville and Warrensburg were in attendance.

Hughes said there has been "strong encouragement" around the area and hopes more Pride events can take place in Pettis County in the future.

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