The annual Ozarks Pridefest has been canceled for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Event organizers on Facebook yesterday cited "the overwhelming number of hospitalizations caused by COVID-19 and the strain that has placed on our region’s health care system" for deciding not to hold Ozarks Pridefest downtown as planned Oct. 9.
"This event brings people to Springfield from the entire multistate region, and it would be a disservice to a community that already has inequitable access to health care to hold an event that would cause increased spread of the delta variant," officials said in the post. "Achieving higher levels of vaccination and stopping the spread of COVID-19 will allow us to come together in person for Pridefest in 2022."
As of this morning, the seven-day average for daily cases in Greene County is 111, with 212 currently hospitalized, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department's COVID-19 dashboard. Of the eligible population, 44.7% have been fully vaccinated.
Ozarks Pridefest officials are inviting businesses, organizations, churches and individuals to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community by posting photos and videos on Oct. 11, which is National Coming Out Day.
The festival, which was founded in the late 1990s, brings thousands of guests to Park Central Square each year. It’s hosted each year by the Ozarks Pridefest committee, The GLO Center and PFLAG Springfield.
Since its 1999 debut, the awards program has honored individuals under the age of 40 for their professional and civic work.