The First Annual Hawaii Island Pride Gay Pride Festival took place in June 2008, and it was an event long overdue. The Hawaii Island Pride Group, a local organization focused on organizing and promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride events on the Big Island, kicked off the third weekend of June with the Miss Hawaii Island Pride Pageant at the local My Bar. This lively Friday night drag show was the opener for the weekend festival in Kailua-Kona, which included an array of bands, special guests, craft and activity booths, as well as a fashion show and luau.
Promoted as a drug-, alcohol-, and hate- free event, over a thousand locals and visitors from all sexual orientations came together to celebrate diversity. While Honolulu has had an annual gay and lesbian pride parade and festival for 18 years, this was the first year the Big Island had such an event. Plans are in the making for another festival next year, in hopes of starting a new tradition.
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