OK, let's get the jokes out of the way. As one bartender I talked to last week put it, this year's Kansas City Pride Fest - slated for the city's historic West Bottoms neighborhood June 20, 21 and 22 - is "an all-Bottoms party, tops not allowed."
It's easy to kid about it now, but in 1978, when KC saw its first gay-pride event, being out and proud in this town wasn't easy. Gay bars were still routinely raided by the cops, and Westport's Redhead Lounge maintained a back-door entrance that could be used by schoolteachers, who could be fired if they were seen entering a venue that catered to homosexuals.
By 1984, the festival had become a half-hearted carnival in the parking lot behind the since-razed Dover Fox saloon, at 43rd Street and Main. There might have been 100 people there, and the event lasted just three hours.
Last year's event in Westport, the first to be presented by the nonprofit Kansas City Diversity Coalition, attracted about 1,000 people over two days, according to estimates by several participants.
Or maybe 10 times that many people showed up?