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"Love is love," LGBTQ community, residents come out in support during first Pride Month festival

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Posted at 6:04 PM, Jun 13, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- There was no shortage of rainbows on display at Vibe Park, in the ViBe Creative District, as the LGBTQ community and their friends were able to show their support for Pride Month.

"It's pretty cool that we actually have a pride because lots of places don't really have pride at all,” Presley Lane, an attendee, said.

It was the first Pride in the Vibe festival, all put on by local vodka producer Chesapeake Bay Distillery.

"It says a lot of how the community has grown overall,” Lane said.

Before 2 p.m., the time the festival started, a line of people extended from the park entrance which included Lane. Meanwhile, just a few people down from her were Laura Dale, her fiancé, mother, and friends.

"My mom, she's been such a huge supporter of me and my fiancé and everything,” Dale said. “So she actually brought this up and we were like we want to celebrate."

The event was expected to draw roughly 3,000 people, according to the event’s Facebook page. While everyone at the festival was happy to celebrate Pride Month, they also said there were happy to celebrate a return to normalcy after a long pandemic.

“The fact, living through a year-and-a-half of COVID,” Rudy Almanzor, the President of Hampton Roads Pride, said, “That we're able to gather outside, is amazing."

Everyone enjoyed other's company, the music, the support from local vendors, and even some of what Chesapeake Bay Distillery had to offer.

In fact, the distillery is producing bottles with a rainbow label where a portion of proceeds will go to local organizations such as Hampton Roads Pride. Proceeds will also go towards the LGBT Life Center, according to the distillery.

The message, though, they said goes beyond Pride Month.

"Whether you are an ally or a member of the LGBTQ+ community,” Almanzor explained, “It's all about living authentically,”

"Love is love, it doesn't matter who you love,” Ashlyn Vankampen, Dale’s fiancé, said. “As long as you have the support of people important to you, that's what matters."