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Preparations under way for Peoria Pride festival

Cesar Vargas

In what has been a momentous year for the LGBTQ community, Peoria will revive a pride festival downtown. Peoria native Cesar Vargas is planning this year’s event.

Vargas says he wanted to put together something that would encourage youth to feel confident and embraced by the community.

“I hope people are inspired and see wow, if he’s doing it, I can do something too,” Vargas said. “I feel like if that energizes people, we could all be doing something fabulous.”

Vargas says the city hasn’t had a large-scale gay pride event in six years.

This year’s weekend-long festival includes musical performances, a comedy show, celebrity guests -- and a high tea Sunday afternoon.  Vargas says he wanted to hold an event in the daytime that focuses on more than just sexual orientation.

“We often like to think that’s who we are, but the truth is, there’s so many things besides it that is so important, like spirituality,” Vargas said. “Like, where do we fit in all this?”

Vargas says he hopes to attract visitors from neighboring cities like St. Louis and Chicago. The festival is the weekend of September 12 at the Peoria Civic Center.

The event also includes a day-long expo to showcase local businesses and nonprofits that are interested in working with people who are LGBTQ. Cesar says registration is still open for organizations.