INDIANAPOLIS — The Indy Pride Parade and Festival are back in person after two years of virtual celebrations.
None of it can happen without the many volunteers who help plan and prepare. Those volunteers spent Friday setting up for Saturday's big events.
It takes the hard work of more than 200 volunteers for the Indy Pride Festival to run smoothly. Volunteers said it's a labor of love.
"The festival and the parade are where everyone comes together. Not having those events kind of made people feel disconnected from the community. It's great to be back and live in person," said Indy Pride Festival Director Josh Lemieux.
There is only one paid position within the Indy Pride organization. To make its events run smoothly, Indy Pride needs hundreds of volunteers. Festival director Josh Lemieux said he does It for the community.
"That's all that Pride is for — building that community, being authentic for everybody else to see, so that one day they'll have the courage to be their authentic self as well," Lemieux said.
Lemieux believes that courage and freedom are very important, especially for the younger generation.
"Our trans youth, this year they were really attacked by our legislature. I think it's really important that they know they are welcomed here. They can be visible. They can be their authentic selves. They don't have to worry about anything here," Lemieux said.
Makayla Thompson is excited to attend the event Saturday. She said she appreciates the work the volunteers put in to make the event a success for attendees.
"It makes me feel special and seen. I get to be me now. And everybody gets to see it," Thompson said.
Lemieux said that kind of inclusion is why so many volunteers show up.
"Here they're welcome. They'll be able to be among their peers. They'll be loved. They'll be included," Lemieux said.
Indy Pride is still looking for volunteers. They have space for up to 1,000 volunteers. For more information on how to get involved, click here.