For the fifth year in a row, Shaun Pfeiffer wore white shorts with a multicolored belt to the Lexington Pride Festival.
"It's an awkward random tradition of mine to this great festival in downtown Lexington that has gotten bigger each year in this receptive community," said Pfeiffer, 27, a volunteer at the 5th annual event held Saturday to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender culture.
Organized by the non-profit Gay and Lesbian Services Organization as a fund-raiser, the festival on the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza at Main and North Limestone streets attracted crowds for food, drink and performances including bands and drag shows.
Not everyone was receptive.
For much of the day, a plane circled over the festival with a banner in red letters that read, "Sodom & Gomorrha an exsample 2nd Peter 2:6."
Sodom and Gomorrah are cities described in the Bible and the Quran as being consumed by fire. They are commonly used as examples of God's judgment on homosexuality.
Dan Moody, a member of Bluegrass Church of Christ in Scott County, said the church of fewer than 12 people spent $2,200 to fly the banner.
The church recently sponsored a sign on a billboard on New Circle Road near Leestown Road that denounced homosexuality and abortion. Lexington police have said they are investigating the theft of the sign.
Moody said the cost for the banner Saturday was "money well spent" and said the spelling in it was based on old English.
He called the banner "a thing of love. We don't hate gays. We simply believe we need to warn each other of sin, and that's what we are doing.
"We are not to uphold lewd, indecent, ungodly acts."
Paul Brown, chairman of the Pride Festival, said, "It's too bad the plane showed up, but it's not distracting us in the least from having a great day."
Brown said the event this year attracted more sponsors and vendors, with 75 booths set up, 15 to 20 more than last year.
Every dollar raised at the festival, Brown said, goes to projects like the Pride Center on Waller Avenue that has a library, senior citizens group and classrooms.
"We're hoping to make $10,000 to $15,000 today," Brown said.
Tom and Dorie Hubbard of Berea were at the festival as volunteers at the tent for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.
The husband and wife dismissed the plane and its message.
"If that's the only protest we have today, we don't have much to worry about," she said.
"We're not going to fire on the plane because of freedom of speech, but I don't understand its message," he said.
Corinna Svarlien of Lexington, a recent high school graduate, said she believes "most people in Lexington are open" to people who are gay.
She called it "an honor" for her to serve on this year's festival committee.
"They're trying to get youth involved, and I jumped at the chance," she said.
Jim Kowaleski of Lexington said he has attended pride festivals in San Francisco, West Hollywood and New Orleans.
"Lexington's is the best," he said. "It's more of a celebration of a lifestyle, not that political and not as much nudity."
Michael Miller and Tom Yates of Lexington, who said they have been "partners and lovers" for 28 years, said the Lexington festival gets bigger and better organized each year.
"It's needed to increase community awareness and understanding," Miller said.
Jack Brammer: (859) 231-1302. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.