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Pride in the Park draws larger crowd than expected in Farmington

More than 200 showed up for first-time event
Rachel Estes dances at Pride in the Park on Saturday at Berg Park in Farmington. (Morgan Mitchell/Durango Herald)

FARMINGTON – Organizers of Pride in the Park held Saturday in Farmington say they will need to think bigger and better for next year’s event after this year’s celebration drew more interest than expected.

The event was hosted by DJ’s Way and Suerte Beauty. DJ’s Way is a nonprofit focused on mental health and suicide prevention in Farmington. It was founded in 2018 by Jasmine Elkins after her little sister, DJ Elkins-Escobar, who was gay, died by suicide after struggling with mental health issues.

People were encouraged to register to vote and take information about mental health help available for members of the LGBTQIA+ community Saturday at Pride in the Park in Farmington. (Morgan Mitchell/Durango Herald)

“DJ struggled with her sexuality sometimes but always kept positive and pushed forward,” Elkins said. “Grieving her, some days, feels endless.”

This year for Pride Month, Elkins, DJ’s Way and Suerte Beauty (a local beauty product seller) set out to create a small barbecue to bring the community together. They had no idea how big the event would be.

More than 200 people showed up Saturday at Berg Park to enjoy music, food and “positive vibes.”

The pavilion at Berg Park was the epicenter for Pride in the Park events Saturday in Farmington. (Morgan Mitchell/Durango Herald)

“It was positive vibes, good people, lots of laughs, lots of love,” Elkins said after the event.

The park was adorned with rainbow and other pride symbols as people waved flags, danced with fans, blew bubbles and wore colorful and sparkly outfits. Elkins planned a high-heel race, where people could sign up and were provided high heels to race in.

“The only issues we had were the shoes were too small for the high-heel race for the men, so we had to duct tape them to their feet,” Elkins said.

Elkins said DJ’s Way is already making plans for next year.

People sit on the lawn Saturday at the Pride in the Park event at Berg Park in Farmington. This was the first Pride in the Park event. (Morgan Mitchell/Durango Herald)

Nicole Hall, president of Identity Inc., set up a booth to let residents know the organization is available to help any way it can, despite not having a headquarters office.

“Pride in the Park was a huge success,” Hall said. “We were all very surprised at the amount of people that showed up to hang out and participate in games. You could tell everyone was having a great time, which is exactly what we wanted.”

Both Elkins and Hall said that because of the high turnout, they plan to go bigger and better next year. But it will all be because of DJ.

“I will never bring her back and we miss her dearly, but with our little organization, we hope to get a grasp on mental health and help as many people as we can along the way,” Elkins said.

Iree Herren blows bubbles at the Pride in the Park event Saturday at Berg Park in Farmington. This was the first year for the event. (Morgan Mitchel/Durango Herald)

mmitchell@durangoherald.com

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