High school student organizes first gay pride festival in Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown

Photo of Erin Bailey provided to FOX59

COLUMBUS, Ind. – A high school student in Columbus, Indiana has taken it upon herself to organize the city’s first gay pride festival in her hometown. Coincidentally, it is also Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown.

Erin Bailey is a student at a project-based learning school in Columbus called Columbus Signature Academy-New Tech. She started organizing Columbus Pride Festival back in August for her senior project because she realized the city didn’t have anything like it. She also wanted to send a message of inclusiveness from a city well-known for being the hometown of the vice president—a man with a long history of holding opposite views from the LGBTQ community.

“With Columbus being Mike Pence’s hometown, it seemed very important to me to show that even though Mike Pence is openly anti-LGBT, it doesn’t mean that the rest of us in his hometown are. There are plenty of people here that are in the LGBT community and that are LGBT friendly,” Bailey told FOX59.

Bailey says thus far she’s received a lot of positive feedback, and a lot of Columbus residents tell her they’re planning to come to the April 14 festival.

There will be educational booths; rainbow themed food from local businesses; music; art; drag performances; and a variety of other entertainment at the festival.

Bailey tells FOX59 she is in the process of getting security to make sure everyone is safe.

Pence’s spokeswoman Alyssa Farah released the following statement to USA Today in reference to the pride festival: “Vice President Pence commends Erin Bailey for her activism and engagement in the civic process. As a proud Hoosier and Columbus native, he’s heartened to see young people from his hometown getting involved in the political process.”

The pride festival is on April 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. downtown on 4th Street.

If you would like to be a vendor, volunteer, or donate to the festival, click here for more info.