By Olivia Eiken | Staff Writer
Pride is not limited to a certain month for Waco’s LGBTQ+ community and its allies.
The Waco Pride Network hosts Out on the Brazos each October to commemorate National Coming Out Day — and because the scorching Texas sun is out during the month of June when pride is typically celebrated. The theme of the event this year is “live and love loud.”
What started as a small community picnic in 2017 has since grown to include over 100 vendors and 500 attendees. The event will be a day of listening to various musical talents, enjoying food truck grub, forming friendships and bonding over shared goals, dreams and experiences.
Alexandra Brock, board member of Waco Pride Network, said the importance of this event lies in the fact that it gives back to the Central Texas community that so proudly supports it.
“There is a huge misconception that this city isn’t for the LGBT community and that if you’re different in some way, there isn’t a place for you here,” Brock said. “There are queer people in every town across the world, even in places where you wouldn’t expect it.”
Brock noted that attending and supporting the event feeds the community because “the performers are from here, most of the vendors are small businesses or local nonprofits based here and even the sponsors are local small businesses and nonprofits.”
“That’s major for the Waco community,” Brock said.
University of Texas at Austin junior Maggie DiSanza is a campus organizer for Texas Freedom Network — a nonprofit organization that is one of the sponsors for Out on the Brazos. DiSanza said she believes it is essential for Baylor students to attend events like Out on the Brazos to bridge the gap between campus life and the community.
“In college towns, students are far removed from off-campus organizations and initiatives,” DiSanza said. “When students engage with these events, we further bridge the gap between universities and the cities they’re located in. This allows students and communities to collaborate, share resources and knowledge and grow together.”
Out on the Brazos will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Brazos Park East.