A Pride Fest coming soon to Lake County, Illinois, will feature a number of activities for children — from arts and crafts and “affirming books” to a Drag Queen Story Time and even Drag Kids Dress-up.
Christopher Rufo shared a tweet about the upcoming event, saying, “The Illinois Department of Children & Family Services is sponsoring a ‘PrideFest Kiddie Korner’ featuring ‘drag queen story time,’ ‘drag kids dress up,’ and a ‘drag show’ for children.”
The Illinois Department of Children & Family Services is sponsoring a "PrideFest Kiddie Korner" featuring "drag queen story time," "drag kids dress up," and a "drag show" for children.https://t.co/H2sQOC3TE3 pic.twitter.com/ZUJBFaiPoE
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) May 12, 2022
According to the event website, the Kiddie Korner is being sponsored by the Waukegan Public Library, the Highland Public Library, and The Heart of the City. Attractions for kids include “affirming books,” “drag queen story time,” “face painting,” “inflatable soccer field,” “drag kids dress up,” and “lots of crafts.”
Other featured events at the Pride Fest include a PG-rated drag show and a burlesque show, among others.
“This is a parody right?” one person asked in response to Rufo’s tweet.
Other critics accused the event organizers of “indoctrination” and of “grooming” children — and noted that they were approaching this event not just with the permission, but the active sponsorship of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
According to the Daily Herald, the upcoming event is the second annual Lake County Pride Fest sponsored by the local LGBTQIA+ center, and it is billed as a “family-friendly outdoor festival.”
“This free, family-friendly outdoor festival will feature music and performances, food trucks, a beer and beverage tent, craft and artisan vendors, a resource fair, games and entertainment for children, multiple drag shows, a dance tent and more,” the Daily Herald reported. “This year’s Presenting Sponsors are ComEd – An Exelon Company, and Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).”
LGBTQ+ Center Lake County Executive Director Nikki Michele claimed that the need for such events was only growing as time went on, saying, “In a time when we are watching our human rights get rolled back at an unprecedented rate, it is vitally important that we counteract hatred with LOVE. Providing this safe and inclusive space for our LGBTQ+ family to celebrate our joy is more important than ever before.”