Star City Pride, Lincoln community clean up after storm

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Star City Pride cleanup, 6.8

Connor McFayden of Lincoln cleans up broken tents on Saturday morning at the Star City Pride Fesitval space near Pinnacle Bank Arena. Heavy rain and wind damaged vendor booths and the stage.




Vendors and volunteers on Saturday took down tents, folded chairs and tables, stacked cinder blocks and wrapped up tarps after heavy rain and wind Friday night wreaked havoc on the festival site for the annual Star City Pride Festival.

The thunderstorms, which cut short Friday’s festivities, also forced the cancellation of Saturday’s featured event, the Pride Parade around the Capitol. 

Star City Pride President Andrew Dominguez Farias said the volunteer board members were on the phone until 11 p.m. Friday, trying to come up with solutions, but safety was the top priority.  

They ultimately decided to cancel the parade and move the festival entertainment indoors to Das Haus, a bar on O Street, since rain had destroyed sound and visual equipment set up for the outdoor festival stage.







Star City Pride cleanup, 6.8

Members of the Star City Pride board survey the damage around the festival lot Saturday after an overnight storm damaged booths set up for the Star City Pride Festival. 




Daniel Anderson, owner of Stratum Productions, said he didn’t know the extent of the damage, but estimated nearly $100,000 worth of equipment was destroyed.

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More than 70 organizations and vendors had planned to set up booths at the festival lot north of Pinnacle Bank Arena. Some packed up Friday when a pair of storms hit Lincoln between 5-10 p.m., but others attempted to weather-proof their booths.

“We’ve lost so much,” Judi Daggs said Saturday morning as she packed up and estimated several hundred dollars worth of merchandise was ruined.

She’d driven six hours from her home in Oelwein, Iowa, and spent five hours on Friday setting up her booth to sell towels, blankets, sweaters, hats, jewelry, socks, “anything that’s fun” for her nephew’s company, Cutting Edge Embroidery.







Star City Pride cleanup, 6.8

Judi Daggs of Oelwein, Iowa, packs up merchandise on Saturday after an overnight storm swept through the location for the Star City Pride Festival. She said it takes five hours to set up her double booth for Cutting Edge Embroidery. Despite the setback, she was still smiling. “It happens. It’s part of life,” she said.




It was the 73-year-old’s third trip to Lincoln for the four-year-old festival, which she said is usually a good show. 

Daggs was at the lot before 7 a.m. and said she and her crew — a grandson and his two friends — were going to head home since they couldn’t set up their booth indoors.

As word spread about the need for volunteers, more than 100 people showed up to clean up the lot.

“The community is a beautiful place to be,” said Dominguez Farias, who burst into tears as he received notifications of donations to help with the replacement of equipment. 

“I know we did not have a Pride parade this morning, but I think this is beautiful and Pride within itself,” he said.

First Presbyterian Church Pastor Sue Coller said church members packed up their booth Friday night, but she was back on Saturday to help. She said at least a third of the tents had been ruined.

Coller said the church looks forward to the Pride Festival each year because it allows them to show young people the church cares, loves and supports them.

Brian Carlson said he wishes his church would support the LGBTQ+ community at Pride events.

He was sporting a “free dad hugs” hat to signal his support for young people.

“One of them wanted a hug from me because I had a ‘free dad hugs’ shirt and she just clutched me,” he said. “I didn’t know this kid at all and then she hugged me for like 10-15 seconds and then stepped back and said, ‘I wish my own dad would hug me.’”

Another volunteer, Vic Klafter, said although the parade was canceled, Pride will be celebrated around the state for the rest of the month.

“Pride isn’t canceled by a storm,” he said.

Dominguez Farias announced Sam’s Club had donated $1,400 worth of sandwich fixings and the volunteers took a break from cleaning up to eat lunch together.







Star City Pride cleanup, 6.8

Judi Daggs of Oelwein, Iowa, packs up merchandise on Saturday after an overnight storm swept through the location for the Star City Pride Festival. She said it takes five hours to set up her double booth for Cutting Edge Embroidery. Despite the setback, she was still smiling. “It happens. It’s part of life,” she said.




Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird was among those helping set up for lunch.

“Pride exists whether or not there’s a festival lot set up with tents,” she said. “I think what you see here is a community-united effort to try to continue to express Pride in different ways and the fact that there’s so many people here volunteering is just absolutely inspiring.”

Dominguez Farias knows some were frustrated the parade — a public demonstration of Pride at the Capitol — was canceled.

“But I think this is a prime example that we are showing up as we should,” he said. “We as a community are showing up and being here and being present to help with recovery.”

Back at the Capitol nearly an hour after the parade was to have started, about 10 people stuck around despite the cancellation. Across the street, a few counter-protesters held signs.

Michaela Gerdes was holding a Pride flag.







Star City Pride cleanup, 6.8

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird (right) helps prepare sandwiches Saturday, June 8, 2024, donated by Sam’s Club for volunteers after an overnight storm damaged vendor booths set up for the Star City Pride Festival, 605 N. Eighth St. 




“We just stayed,” she said. “We’re just going to stay and support it, make our own parade.”

Claudia Fullerton brought her son, Raine Fullerton, and his friends to the Capitol without knowing the parade was canceled. 

“We’re going to continue having fun today, though,” Raine Fullerton said.

Pollie Roxia, a drag queen who saw people standing at the Capitol in the morning, went in full drag to spread awareness and show people that Pride is not canceled after she helped clean up at the festival lot.

This was Roxia’s last Pride in America, since she’s moving to Europe soon.

“To have everything kind of gone all of a sudden is very weird, it kind of sucks,” she said. “But I feel more bad for everyone that showed up and was expecting everything to happen and then nothing happened.”







Star City Pride cleanup, 6.8

Tim Hart, of Hart & Arndt Family Health, shows off leis that were kept dry in a cooler following a Friday storm damaged vendor booths set up for the Star City Pride Festival, 605 N. Eighth St., on Saturday.




Saturday’s celebration moved to Das Haus and began at 1 p.m. After 6 p.m., the venue will only accept people ages 19 and up. DJs, drag performers and musical groups will perform at Das Haus. Headlining drag performers include A’Keria Chanel Davenport, Chevelle Brooks and Jazell Barbie Royale.

Family-friendly activities after 6 p.m. will be at Mana Games. Both Mana Games and Das Haus will be honoring tickets bought for the festival this weekend.

“We’re still doing everything that we were originally going to do over there, just in a different venue,” Roxia said. “So as long as people know about that, there’s still a place for them.”

Despite Saturday’s change of plans and venues, Dominguez Farias said the celebration of Pride will continue.

“We’re doing our best to show up as our true authentic selves in whatever capacity that may be,” he said.







Star City Pride cleanup, 6.8

President of the Star City Pride Festival Andrew Dominguez Farias thanks volunteers on Saturday, June 8, 2024, for help cleaning up after a Friday storm damaged vendor booths set up for the Star City Pride Festival, 605 N. Eighth St. 




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Reach the writer at 402-473-7326 or [email protected]. On Twitter @TaylorSatoski