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Second annual Bistro Pride Festival celebrates diversity and acceptance

Embracing diversity and celebrating 26 years in business, Saturday July 27th, The Bistro in Bloomington will hold their second annual Pride Festival on Main street.

When Jan Lancaster, better known as ‘Momma’, bought The Bistro in downtown Bloomington back in 1993, it was the only gay bar in the twin cities.

“When I celebrated my 25th year last year I was determined to do something, so we ended up having a block party and it was basically the first pride.” said Lancaster

Little did she know the outpouring of support that would come from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.

“We literally expected about 300-400 hundred people and we were told we had 2000.” said Lancaster

Now in year two, the festival, all along Main Street, will include local artists, drag shows, live music, and of course plenty of food and drink.

But for Lancaster the true power in the event comes from education of young and old.

“Last year I got up on stage and you looked out and you saw, we have t-shirts that say ‘Momma’s family’ and all kinds, you just looked out and saw all these faces. I get emotional just thinking about it.” said Lancaster

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous police raid on the Stonewall Inn, an underground gay bar in New York City.

Lancaster said while much as improved we still have a long way to go, and her Bistro will always be more than just a bar.

“It is a safe haven. It is home for a lot of people. When I first opened there was obviously a lot of tension down here as across the nation but people know they can come here and it’s a safe environment.” said Lancaster

Admission to the festival is free for all ages from 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. followed by a 21+ ticket only drag show.

They are still looking for volunteers, you can find information on how to help here.

Kaitlin Pearson

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