Dixon shows its Pride with first LGBTQ rally

Locals attend DIxon's first Pride event, an LGBTQIA rally, on Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Photos by Dark Horse Photography

Dixon in Northern Illinois had its first LGBTQ Pride event this past weekend with a rally on the city’s riverfront.

The rally was an “unofficial” Pride event because a formal parade or festival couldn’t make it through city bureaucracy in time for this year. That didn’t stop quite a few people from joining in and celebrating.

Judging by photos, the crowd at the rally got up to 100 at times. The rally featured speakers and a performance from Sparkling Saphire, at 9-year-old drag queen.

Kisle Hinrichs, one of the organizers, said there were no confrontations during the rally and the crowd was respectful of the town. They even cleaned up trash that wasn’t theirs.

“I’d say it came together and went pretty well,” they said.

But the impact wasn’t lost. Dixon, about 40 miles southwest of Rockford, is better known as the hometown of President Ronald Reagan.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bawling my eyes out when Sparkling Saphire was performing,” Hinrichs said. “It was very emotional seeing all this being built before my eyes, being part of it every step of the way, and having it be received so well by the community in the end.