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The 39th Annual RI PrideFest is Saturday in Providence

When it comes to acceptance, Providence has always been at the top of any list. Roger Williams founded the place centuries ago, after getting kicked out of Massachusetts for his views on religious freedom and separation of church and state. So it seems fitting that the city is home to a very long-running celebration of the gay community, the RI PrideFest.

The 39th Annual RI PrideFest takes place this Saturday. It is the second largest celebration of its kind in New England. The theme this year is “Triumph and Transformation,” honoring the victory of marriage equality and making strides toward greater acceptance for the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) communities in Rhode Island and Southern New England.

The event kicks off at noon on South Water Street with the largest LGBT marketplace and business expo in the region, along with a variety of entertainment. Headlining performers this year are American Idol finalist David Hernandez and dance diva Niki Haris.

Packages are available for purchase online for access to the Rainbow Room VIP Lounge, which offers an up-close view of the main stage, special refreshments from 2-4 p.m., and a chance to win a liquor basket.

That night, there is an illuminated parade of floats, said to be the only event of its kind in New England. There is also a “Hangover Drag Brunch” Sunday at Aspire Seasonal Kitchen, with Rhode Island drag queen Jacqueline DiMera, YouTube drag sensation Haley Star, Miss Gay RI 2014 and Pride Queen Ocean State 2014. Tickets run $20 each, and for reservations call 401-512-3333 or visit www.aspirerestaurant.com

   For info on PrideFest visit www.prideri.com Check out a video as well of Haley Star at http://bit.ly/1iEHapk

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