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Klamath Falls hosts second annual pride festival on Saturday

Two people stand in a park in front of a table covered in a rainbow tablecloth. Other various rainbow decorations are dotted around pop-up tents. One of the people with a rainbow colored beard is blowing bubbles.
Klamath Falls DSA
The Klamath Pride 2021 event, also held at the Veterans Memorial Park. Organizers say the event saw around 100-150 attendees. Almost 200 people have responded as "going" on the event's Facebook page this year.

Klamath Falls is hosting its second annual pride festival on Saturday. The event’s organizers are excited despite threatening messages in recent weeks.

Southern Oregon was home to more LGBTQ pride events this year, including one held in Medford last month that drew hundreds from around the region.

Organizers in Klamath Falls are hoping for a similar turnout at their event this Saturday.

Festival Organizer Jeff Press says he’s excited to see everyone come together to support the LGBTQ youth in Klamath Falls.

“You see these negative things and kids can feel very alienated," Press says. "And so I’m excited for this event to happen so that we can show you are loved, you are cared about and you belong.”

In recent weeks, several religious and political groups have posted threatening messages about the event on social media, and are organizing a protest at the nearby government center building.

Organizer Courtney Neubauer says that’s something the LGBTQ community has to fight against.

“The thing that has been so incredible and has regrounded us and made us feel safer is the fact that we have an incredible community," Neubauer says.

Neubauer says they’ve gotten a lot of support from people who are excited for the event this year.

Because of a rise in attacks on LGBTQ community members in the Northwest, festival organizers want to ensure the event is safe.

Press says alongside local police presence, staff will be trained in de-escalation tactics to deal with any conflicts.

The festival takes place from noon-5:00 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday. Neubauer says there will be local vendors, family friendly activities and performances for the community to enjoy.

A performance of a local play called “The Secret Life of Peas” will also start at noon at the nearby Linkville Playhouse.

After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast.