What began as a requirement for her graduation became a passion project for high school senior Erin Bailey. Her school, the Columbus Signature Academy, calls for all students to complete a project to “explore endeavors that fuel their passions and to act as a bridge between a student’s high school experience and his or her future goals.” For Bailey, who identifies as bisexual, that project became organizing Columbus, Indiana’s first Pride festival which took place over the weekend. The kicker? Columbus is the hometown of Vice President Mike Pence.
“I didn’t know it was going to be like this but I’m so glad it is,” Bailey told local news station WTHR. Festival goers came from around the country to celebrate the landmark event, wanting to be a part of history and show their support.
“We want to send a message out to everyone that not everybody is Columbus, Indiana feels that way,” said Jill Tasker, president of Pride Alliance of Columbus. “There is a great number of people in this town who support and love the LGBTQ community.”
Bailey crowdsourced funds for the inaugural festival with a GoFundMe campaign that raised over $6,000. Watch footage from the festival, below.