ST. CLOUD -- The fifth annual Pridefest "Pride in the Park" took place today at Lake George.

Jim Beck is on the St. Cloud Pride Board and he says the event is held to bring people in the area together in celebration with music, vendors, games, and food.

"It's just a family-friendly event that promotes equality and letting everyone know that everybody's the same," Beck says.

Beck says the event has grown a lot in terms of both turnout and support.

"We started out very small - with just a few sponsors and a few vendors," Beck says.

The event this year featured over 70 booths and many more sponsors.

"To see it start with just a few people and now to get where we get 3,000-plus, it's just very rewarding to see that there's a lot of people that are excited to be a part of it," Beck says.

Beck believes the event has been able to prosper because of the recent growing support for equal rights and equal marriage.

"Showing people that it's OK to be equal, it's OK to be themselves, and to not be afraid of who you are," Beck says "so this just pulls everyone together - gays, straights, allies - everybody can be comfortable together and show that they're just people."

Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON