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Gay pride fest, parade to swing by Gainesville Oct. 22

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Posted: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 11:52 pm

The 2011 Pride Festival will be held at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza on Oct. 22 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The festival begins immediately after the Pride Parade, which is scheduled to start on University Avenue at 1 p.m.

Gay pride events have been in Gainesville since 1992, according to Terry Fleming, co-president of the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida, which is hosting the festival.

"It's very important for the LGBT community to be visible, and that's one of the main things this is about," Fleming said.

The festival began as a picnic in Westside Park before moving to the plaza in the late 1990s.

Live entertainment and vendors, including food vendors, community organizations and churches from the area will all be at the plaza.

There will also be a face-painting booth for children.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 people attend the festival and parade each year, according to Fleming.

The festival is free and open to the public.

It is co-sponsored by the City of Gainesville.

"LGBT folks are often mistreated against," Fleming said. "There are many of us, and we are a part of every walk of life. With this, the community gets together to gain acceptance and be prideful."

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