The marketplace at the 14th annual Spencer Pride festival took up three city blocks. Courtesy photo

Editor’s note: The following is adapted from a press release from Spencer Pride. Bloom has republished it here with edits for style and clarity.

Downtown Spencer, Indiana, was filled with laughter, music, and smiles during the 14th annual Spencer Pride Festival on October 16. This year’s festival welcomed approximately 6,500 guests into the downtown square for the largest-ever Pride event held in Spencer.

“Our festival was scheduled to start at noon and yet the streets were filled with guests starting around 10 a.m.,” says Kate Gehringer, the festival’s marketplace coordinator. 

The festival’s outdoor marketplace featured a record 110 vendors and was spread across three blocks in Spencer’s historic downtown. 

Other festival events included performances at the historic Tivoli Theatre, Drag Queen Storytime at the Owen County Public Library, a pet parade, and special events and merchandise at local Spencer businesses like Juniper Art Gallery and the Dragonfly Gallery.

The Spencer Pride commUnity center was one of the most popular of the indoor venues during the festival. “It was nonstop foot traffic all day long,” says volunteer Marlin Howard, who staffed the register at the commUnity center for several hours.

The center was filled with activities all day, including raffles, a 50/50 drawing, and shopping. The retail shop at Spencer Pride featured products from a variety of artists and craftspeople, all from within Indiana and most from Owen and surrounding counties.

“We appreciate all of those who came out to this year’s event,” says Kim Fidler, Spencer Pride’s secretary. “This year’s theme was ‘Together Again,’ and it certainly felt like that theme resonated with those who turned out for Spencer Pride. People understand the value of in-person connection. We are proud to have responsibly brought the community together at a time when we all need it.”

COVID-19 precautions were in place during Pride and were modeled after precautions taken in other communities. Spencer Pride officials waited to see how the landscape was evolving amid the public health crisis, watching local positivity numbers to determine what precautions were necessary in the time leading up to the event. 

“Our guests appreciated the measures that we implemented to host our event as responsibly as we can during the COVID-19 pandemic,” explains Clay Wright, Spencer Pride’s health & wellness director. “We saw full compliance with our mask requirements, both indoors and at the select outdoor locations where they had to be enforced.  We also saw high utilization of our complementary masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing recommendations.”

In addition to the pandemic-related measures in place, the Indiana Immunization Coalition staffed a vaccination clinic during the festival, providing free COVID-19 vaccines (and other vaccines, including flu) to the public.

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