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Pride Fest Working to Include Families With New Kids and Family Zone

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- For the first time in the Capital City Pride’s 41 years of putting on Pride Fest, they now have a designated kids zone.

“There's just so many queer families that have kids, so being able to have an event where they could just come and be in the shade, it's fabulous,” Jean McClurken said.

Jean and her wife, Devon McClurken, are celebrating their 11-year wedding anniversary Saturday at Pride Fest. This year they brought along their little 15-month-old baby, Olson.

Most of their time was spent at the kids zone. They said it was a perfect place for families to still celebrate but be away from the party atmosphere.

“We had plenty of [partying] when we were younger,” McClurken said. “In fact, that's where we met, was at gay pride 15 years ago. So we had that part of our lives and that was fun, but now knowing that there's something that we can still do with our family is great.”

The kids zone had tons of activities, including sprinklers to avoid the heat and drag queen story time, which the Capital City pride director, Hillary Gardner, said was a big hit with the children.

“We want to include the families that are in Waukee or whoever who have little kids who want to be a part of the weekend and have some visibility, but there's nowhere to go. Now, this is where they came and hopefully we will keep continuing to do it every year,” Gardner said.

The kids area was available from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Brenton Skating Plaza. UnityPoint Health sponsored the event. Gardner says they were extremely busy with families and children for the first few hours and it was an overall successful event.

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