MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) – One of the state’s largest pride festivals kicked off in downtown Middletown Saturday. 

The 5th annual Middletown PrideFEST started with a drag artist story hour, parade, rally and performances. People dressed in rainbows and colorful ensembles, not afraid to express themselves.

“The people are wonderful, the energy is incredible and infectious!” said Amber Bigley. 

Four blocks of Main Street were closed for the celebration. The streets were lined with dozens of vendors, food trucks and community groups. This year, two stages were set up for performances. 

Felicity Vlay, a drag queen, performed in PrideFEST for the first time this year. 

“I got to perform in front of everyone and just share my art and show people, do whatever you want, it’s pride month, have fun!”

The event was family friendly. Some parents use this event as a way to teach an important lesson to their kids. 

“I identify as pansexual so I find it really important to get [my daughter] involved in the community and get comfortable with it so it’s normal for me because it wasn’t normal for me when I was younge,” said Katie Gardner, a parent from New Britain. 

Jack Brown has a transgender son who lives in Colorado. Brown said it was important for him to attend the city’s celebration. 

“My oldest is trans and their partner and all of their friends so we’re here supporting not only them but the whole community,” said Jack Brown. 

The event started at noon. There were also a dozen healthcare services including vaccinations, screenings, and information provided by local organizations. Community groups also offered resources for the LGBTQ+ community. 

“There are people there for you, there are resources, there are support groups, there are people who do care for you,” said Vlay.