During a typical year, the Pride: Durham, NC annual celebration packs Duke University's campus with a parade, over 125 food vendors and festivities aimed at celebrating the LGBTQ+ community across the Triangle.
But this year, due to COVID-19 variants on the rise, those festivities shifted to a hybrid format — offering community resources in person and social events online.
Festival coordinator Travis Cinnamon said the event's organizers were forced to pivot to determine what safe activities they could hold while still honoring Pride. Organizers made the call to shift in early September.
"It was really figuring out what was safe, but still showed pride," Cinnamon said. "We didn't want to cancel Pride."
Events at Pride were split between two areas – Duke’s East Campus and the LGBTQ Center of Durham.
The events on East Campus centered around community outreach, with a COVID-19 vaccine clinic, free STI testing and free meals offered through Feed Durham. Meanwhile, at the LGBTQ Center of Durham, there was a self-guided youth scavenger hunt and two free food trucks.
"We've seen lots of groups of kids and their parents just show up of all different ages," said Freddy Perkins, who serves as program director for the LGBTQ Youth Center. "I'm just really excited to see that, even though we've had to pivot and not do what we really wanted to do or what we hoped to do, it's still something being received well."
He added that vendors Oak City Fish and Chips and Epic Vegan offered food at no charge.
Event organizers decided to host the scavenger hunt so children could enjoy outdoor activities with friends while limiting exposure to COVID-19.