The second annual Prideville Festival took over Pioneer Park outside the Crook County Courthouse on Sunday afternoon.
From noon to 5 p.m., local musicians played while hundreds of guests meandered among the booths.
With temperatures in the 90’s, it was still cooler than it was during last year’s celebration, which landed during a historic heat wave for the Pacific Northwest.
“Last year we had approximately 500 to 700 people coming in throughout the day, noon to five in a heat wave that was more than we expected,” said Robyn Loxley, President of the Prideville nonprofit organization. “We’re hoping for the same turnout this year, if not more, ’cause it’s not as hot.”
The Prideville organization was founded in 2018, in order to provide resources for local LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and neurodivergent community members.
Loxley explained that the inspiration grew during her time as a mental health care worker.
“I was working with a lot of our LGBTQ+ youth, that felt isolated, alienated, and very much afraid here in Crook County,” she said. “The frustration for me was, I wish I could connect my 10 o’clock to my 2 o’clock, so they would know that they’re not alone, that there’s friends out here.”
After starting an online presence, they held their first ever Pride March in 2020, and received a larger turnout than expected.
“We expected maybe 12…we got 43 people and three dogs. So that helped send out a very loud and proud message to the town of Prineville that yes, there is diversity here, and yes we want to come together and have community,” Loxley said.
Loxley and her board aimed to fill this year’s Prideville event with Crook County crafters, including textile weavers, pottery wheels, bakers, and coffee makers.
Around 30 booths were featured this year, which was a dozen more than last year.
Loxley said they hadn’t received any pushback from the community during organization, or the event itself.
“Prideville is for all of us,” she said. “Prineville, Crook County is for all of us. This is not an exclusive event. We’re here to welcome conversations and dialogues, open questions and answers, and give people the space to do that in.”
Support for the LGBTQ+ community in rural areas, Loxley explained, is minimal.
“Anything from access to mental health care, medical care, affirming and safe places for them to be to congregate, representation for youth,” she said.
She recommended Crook County Public Health and Mosaic Medical for local LGBTQ+ healthcare needs.
For more information about resources in Crook County or upcoming Prideville events, visit the Prideville Facebook page or Instagram page.