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June 10, 2009 | 12:00 p.m. CST
Would-be stars will have their chance to shine in the spotlight in the Mid-Missouri Pride Idol Karaoke Contest as they mimic American Idol contestants. Dustin Hampton, winner of the first contest, is now a regular karaoke singer and host at Arch & Column Pub in Columbia, as well as a Mid-Missouri PrideFest planning member.
“I had never sung karaoke before Pride Idol and chose the song ‘Walkin’ in Memphis,’” Hampton says. “People will now request me to sing it.”
Pride Idol is just one of the many festivities that will be at this year’s celebration. PrideFest has evolved from a small picnic to raise funds for The Center Project, a place for persons of all sexual orientations and identities in Columbia, into a much larger affair with over 1,000 people in attendance last year. This year’s event will take place June 13, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Stephens Lake Park.
PrideFest not only attracts local residents but also brings in many visitors from the Midwest. Both gay and straight families alike will enjoy the event.
PrideFest will have a kids’ game area with face painting and crafts, as well as a new area for adults to play games such as hillbilly golf and washers. The event will also include a cafe with pulled pork sandwiches for $6 and other snacks that can be purchased with a donation in the amount of the buyer’s choice.
Furry members of the family are invited to participate in the festivities too. Returning to PrideFest this year is the Gayest Dog Contest. Clayton Hayes, member of the Mid-Missouri LGBT Coalition and Mid-Missouri Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, received the honor of being a judge in last year’s contest. He rated the dogs dressed in second-hand duds based on several different categories, not including best bonnet or dress.
“The dogs could do all kinds of tricks, but the most amazing was one that, on command, could flip a treat and catch it in its mouth mid-air,” Hayes says. “Everybody was proud of their dogs, and it wasn’t about winning or losing but showing their dog off.”
Humans will also have a time to strut their stuff on stage. PrideFest will feature the winner of the drag show contests held
at SoCo Club on June 6 in the Pride King/Queen drag show performance. Winner of the 2008 Miss City of Columbia drag show, Miranda L’Amour, will be hosting the PrideFest drag contests.
With two different stages, there should never be a dull moment at PrideFest. Columbia rapper Steddy P. and an African folk dance group are just a few of the highlights.
In addition, booths will be set up for non-profit organizations such as The Open Door Ministry; Mid-Missouri PFLAG; and RAIN of Central Missouri, which will perform free HIV testing.