HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The fourth annual Diversity Days will be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14 and 15, in downtown Hannibal. What started as an LGBTQ event now caters to a more diverse population.
"We changed it a couple of years ago to Diversity Days to be more inclusive," organizer Arif Dagin said. "We've had more minorities who have attended, which is great. That's what makes this weekend fun. It's all about being yourself."
The event grows each year. Last year, people from Quincy, Ill.; Keokuk, Iowa; St. Louis; Kansas City; Chicago and elsewhere attended.
Diversity Days kicks off with an opening party and bonfire at 8 p.m. Friday at LaBinnah Bistro, 207 N. Fifth St. Bring your own beverage and folding chairs for the bonfire.
"It will be a laid-back evening," Dagin said.
During the daytime Saturday, people can enjoy the boutique shops, museums and other attractions downtown. Free karaoke with DJ Sly will be offered from 7 to 9 p.m. at Finn's Food and Spirits, 214 N. Main St. A dance party and drag show will begin 9 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and will be sold at the door.
"The purpose of Diversity Days is to show that Hannibal is a welcoming place," Dagin said. "It isn't about money. It's about showing that Hannibal is a safe place to be. Hopefully people will come out and join us this weekend."
Because of the recent growth of Diversity Days, Dagin and others are already planning the fifth annual event.
"We're putting a committee together for that," he said. "Next year's Diversity Days is going to be our biggest yet."