TOPEKA (KSNT) – A local non-profit partnered with the Greater Topeka Partnership to celebrate a Kansas milestone.

Kansas celebrated its very first statewide pride festival over the weekend. People started gathering at the Capitol building and the festivities went on from there.

“We’ve got a rally here at the Statehouse today,” Kansas Representative Brandon Woodard said. “Followed by a whole day worth of events that are hopefully allowing people to be out and proud and excited about who we are as a community.”

The festival had guest appearances from the mayor, state representatives and other allies. A state-recognized celebration helps bring attention to this community and the struggles they face.

“I think it follows along with the things we have been trying to do all along,” Mayor Michael Padilla said. “To bring equality and equity to the city of Topeka, and understand that everybody has value to our community and this value has to be talked about.”

Empowering the LGBTQ+ community is a goal of Pride Kansas, and festivals like these achieve just that.

“It will absolutely save lives,” LGBTQ+ Rights Activist Stacy Lentz said. “There are probably young folks out there that are like wait, there is a community, there are people like me and it does get better. This is a way for us to be visible, get our allies out, make sure people are affirmed, safe and seen.”

While this is a major milestone for the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Kansas will continue making their voices heard. Not just here in Topeka, but all across Kansas.