Kerrigan Anthony, left, watches as Erin Bailey smiles as Bailey is recognized for organizing the first-ever Columbus Pride Festival in downtown Columbus, Ind., Saturday, April 14, 2018. Bailey, a senior at Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High School, organized the festival as part of her senior project. Mike Wolanin | The Republic
Kerrigan Anthony, left, watches as Erin Bailey smiles as Bailey is recognized for organizing the first-ever Columbus Pride Festival in downtown Columbus, Ind., Saturday, April 14, 2018. Bailey, a senior at Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High School, organized the festival as part of her senior project. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Rainbows by the hundreds could be seen even before the precipitation paused during Saturday’s inaugural Columbus Pride Festival.

An LGBT-friendly crowd of 2,000 to 3,000 people filled the two-block festival area at Fourth and Washington streets in downtown Columbus. Many wore the multi-colored Pride flag logo on their cheek, forehead, T-shirt, sweater or ball cap. One woman even sported it on her dog leash.

The free event, which attracted national media ranging from CNN to Vice and attendees from as far away as New York City, will return next year, said founder and organizer Erin Bailey, a senior at Columbus Signature Academy — New Tech High School, who organized the festival as her senior project.

“Oh — this makes me feel so inspired, honestly,” Bailey said.

Distinguished, white-haired New York City resident Glenn Pannell, dressed in a suit jacket, tie and shorts he called hot pants, played a character he calls Mike Hot-Pence, capitalizing on a resemblance to the vice president.

Pannell, who began doing the character on Dec. 3, 2016, to poke at Pence’s views he sees as anti-LGBT, was among the most popular figures at the event.

Many people stopped him, chatted, and asked to get a cellphone photo.

Read more in Sunday’s print edition of The Republic.

Sister Creama Tory, left, and Sister Merry Go Round, with the Derby City Sisters out of Louisville, Ky., take part in the first-ever Columbus Pride Festival in downtown Columbus, Ind., Saturday, April 14, 2018. The festival was organized by Erin Bailey, a senior at Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High School, for her senior project. Mike Wolanin | The Republic
Sister Creama Tory, left, and Sister Merry Go Round, with the Derby City Sisters out of Louisville, Ky., take part in the first-ever Columbus Pride Festival in downtown Columbus, Ind., Saturday, April 14, 2018. The festival was organized by Erin Bailey, a senior at Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High School, for her senior project. Mike Wolanin | The Republic
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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.