Rainbow Cafe LGBT Youth Center takes part in Carbondale’s Lights Fantastic Parade

CARBONDALE — The Rainbow Cafe LGBT Youth Center in Carbondale took part in the southern Illinois city’s Lights Fantastic Parade this past weekend.

The Lights Fantastic Parade is Carbondale’s annual Christmas parade and this year, the Rainbow Cafe had a float of their own.

From the Rainbow Cafe’s Facebook page:

Our theme was Welcome to Wonderland, and we hosted a taco party for participants at RC afterwards.

This was a huge accomplishment for our youth, who raised partial funds and worked on weekends all through November to finish construction. With gratitude, we recognize the people of the Rainbow Cafe for their contributions:

Our manager, Ashley Beard for helping with design, construction, paints, materials,and space; volunteer Emily Sands for design, construction, and scrounging materials; volunteer and Unconditional parent Sage Banks for donating time and space; Unconditional parent Jerry South for lending us the trailer; Unconditional parent Jill Adams for her support; Board Intern and Unconditional parent Mona M Miller for lending us the generator and walking with us; Board Intern and Unconditional parent Carrie Sinclair Vine for materials and support; Unconditional parent Christopher Vine for donating wood and other materials, working every weekend on construction, and driving the float; volunteer Lauren Orange for organizing the Culver’s Share Night Fundraiser; Board VC and Volunteer Chip Loghry for helping the youth make masks and balloon lights and for walking with us and taco duty …

Board Member and volunteer Aimee Kolbeck for walking with us, helping the youth get ready, and taco duty; AB and Lauren for walking with us and taco duty; Maggie Lacheta for taco duty …

AND ALL THE YOUTH AND ADULTS WHO WALKED WITH US, including Vincent Miskelley (Christina Garnette) and Chris Reynolds (Idina Rimes)! In the past, we’ve had between four and a dozen walkers with our banner and last year, with our unicorn … this year, not only did we have a float but we also had TEN ADULTS from board members, volunteers and community supporters and NINETEEN YOUTH riding / walking along. If I’ve failed to tag anyone, please know we love and appreciate you.

Not only are we so incredibly proud of their hard work, but we are also incredibly proud of the youth for their strength, confidence, bravery and resilience! It’s no small feat to literally parade a group of nearly 20 queer youth down the strip in Carbondale, in Southern Illinois, in the BIGGEST PARADE IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS! There has not always been a time that we could do this, and we THANK OUR WONDERFUL COMMUNITY and a very special donor for their support.

All photos courtesy of Rainbow Cafe LGBT Youth Center

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