The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

August 23, 2013

Volunteers have helped Enid Pride’s chances

ENID, Okla. — The all-volunteer Enid LGBT Coalition was so short on help this month it considered the possibility of canceling Enid Pride.

“We were really wondering if we were going to have enough manpower to be able to do it this year,” said Kristi Balden, director of operations.

The group sent out messages, including a post on Facebook that said unless volunteers make commitments to help, the event might not happen.

“As soon as we let people know that we needed volunteers in order to do this, they responded wonderfully,” Balden said. “I think a lot of that is that people assume that because it’s the third year we’ve done it, it’ll happen. They don’t think about that we don’t need help to make it happen.”

Currently, the coalition has about 18 people helping plan the event, which will be Sept. 21 at North Government Springs Park. On the day, Balden expects 30 volunteers, including help from LGBT organizations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. They are welcoming more volunteers who want to assist in marketing, rounding up sponsors and other aspects of putting on a large event.

“Getting everything to the park that morning takes three hours and four trucks, and it’s a big deal,” Balden said.

She’s expecting about a thousand people to come out to the park that day, which will be the third consecutive event of its kind in Enid.

“That’s kind of where we’ve been the last two years, so we figure that’s a pretty safe figure to count on,” she said.

There will be live music and activities for children. Balden said the event is geared to be family friendly.

Kelby Johnson, whose story was featured in the documentary “Bully,” will be on hand to give an inspirational speech.

Balden said Enid’s Pride celebration draws visitors from a wide area, including Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Woodward, Alva and Guymon.

“Enid Pride is kind of it for northwest Oklahoma. Even for southern Kansas,” she said.

LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

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