Pride in the Park Picnic hosted by The Voice of Freeport

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Approximately 50 Northwest Illinois residents from the LGBTQIA+ and allied community gathered in Krape Park’s Gunkel Shelter on Sunday evening to celebrate community and diversity. Coordinated by The Voice of Freeport Carl Utt and Jody Coss as well as Sabra Baker and Anjanette Johnson of the Feminist Freedom Coalition the event sprung from several meetings of the new LGBTQIA+ Community Committee which started on July 3rd with 4 people in attendance.

Catered by Hilldale Deli of Freeport the crowd had individually wrapped sandwiches with pretzel buns, macaroni salad, and fruit cups as well as a host of other dishes and beverages provided by the hosts. Guests also brought their own dishes. Lots of Lady Gaga bumped out of the Bluetooth speaker as the hosts decorated and the guests arrived. Respecting social distancing guidelines and mask mandates was the order of the day but conversation, laughter, and new friendships being formed were made easy as the crowd spent 3 hours discussing life and times in Freeport.

Shortly after 8PM as darkness started to fall on Krape Park it was agreed by most in attendance that a wonderful time was had and many couldn’t wait to do it again sometime in the future. For anyone else in the community who’d like to participate in future get togethers please keep an eye on this site as well as The Voice of Freeport’s Facebook page and other social media venues.

The group meets on the first Wednesday and the third Sunday of every month from 7pm until 8pm to discuss the LGBTQIA+ community and future events. Over the next few meetings they hope to come up with a name for the group as well as make plans for the next community gathering. All members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies are welcome on the Zoom calls and at the in person gatherings.

If you’d like to contribute to offset the costs of the event or help fund part of future events please use the following payment options:

Paypal: progressivevisionil@gmail.com or 480-669-3214

Venmo: VoiceOfFreeport or progressivevisionil@gmail.com or 480-669-3214

Cash App: $VoiceOfFreeport or progressivevisionil@gmail.com or 480-669-3214

Cash and check can be accepted as well. Please call The Voice of Freeport at 815-616-5856 to make arrangements.

About the writer: Carl Utt is a newly minted local citizen journalist, activist, and hellraiser. He believes this
growing plutocracy we live in along with the pandemic, economic crisis, and social upheaval
presents us a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the world like we’ve never seen before.
Let’s not miss the chance.