Knoxville was full of color for Pride Month! 🌈 While LGBTQ flags flew across the city, this otherwise joyous celebration was also painted in controversy.
First, we broke a story about a local pastor who, while working as a detective in the Knox County Sheriff’s office, was actively preaching that the government should round up and execute members of the LGBT community. The story went viral immediately. A reporter and I, along with other local media, staked out the church to speak with the pastor that same night before the church’s bible study. Second, one of the organizers for Knox Pride wrote in a statement that if parade members interacted with demonstrators, police would remove them from the parade.
My buddy Ryan and I explored “Underground Gay Street,” something everyone in Knoxville has heard about but has rarely ever seen. Check out the video below! I also photographed the Elkmont Synchronous Fireflies in the Smoky Mountains and photographed the Miss America Tennessee pageant. It was a fun and colorful month indeed!
Parade members from UT carry a large Pride flag at the annual Knox Pride Fest Parade in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday, June 22, 2019.
Parade members gather before the start at the annual Knox Pride Fest Parade.
Jaclyn Erby sits with Australian labradoodles Julie and Mia at the annual Knox Pride Fest Parade.
Otis Smith, of Knoxville, smiles at the annual Knox Pride Fest Parade.
A waxing gibbous moon sets over the downtown Knoxville skyline early Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Orbiting some 232,000 miles from Earth, the June moon is also commonly known as the Strawberry Moon in North America.
Albert Hatfield, who lives nearby, walks into the flood waters for a look down the road on the corner of Locust Dr. and Old Middlesboro Hwy. in LaFollette, Tennessee on Saturday, June 8, 2019. According to the NWS, Sunday has the potential for the “most concentrated period for steadier rainfall,” which could lead to flooding in low-lying areas.
A family peers at the flood water levels from their porch on the corner of Locust Dr. and Old Middlesboro Hwy. in LaFollette.
Lukus Alderman, whose father in law is the pastor of Faith Way Assembly of God, discovers his bible amongst the debris and piled-up pews in the sanctuary after a flash flood damaged much of the building overnight on Saturday, June 8, 2019. A flash flood overtook the church overnight causing extensive damage throughout the building including the main sanctuary.
A Church Hymnal is found beneath debris and mud in the main entrance of Faith Way Assembly of God.
All Scripture Baptist Church Pastor Grayson Fritts, former KCSO detective, speaks with the media ahead of the Wednesday service at the church’s Cherry Street location in Knoxville, Tennessee on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Fritts has come under fire for preaching in a recent sermon that the government should arrest and execute LGBTQ community members.
A person who wished to remain unidentified dropped off an Pride flag with an attached note reading “Dear Pastor Fritts, I don’t know what happened to you, but I am so sorry. Love, Thy Neighbor” at All Scripture Baptist Church.
Family members relax on a bridge at Elkmont Campground in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee on Saturday, June 15, 2019. The Adkerson family is celebrating 60 years camping at the campground, reserving over 10 campsites to accommodate all of the attending family members.
The Adkerson family poses for a group portrait at Elkmont Campground.
A pedestrians walk along Jackson Ave. beside the ramp in Old City in Knoxville, Tennessee on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. The ramp is planned for demolition later this summer.
Owners Kim and Wade Wilcox pose for a photo at It’s All So Yummy Cafe, 120 S. Peters Rd., in Knoxville, Tennessee on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.
Vanilla rolled ice cream with Tennessee Trash cookie dough, featuring Oreos, M&Ms and chocolate chips Ð topped with whipped cream at Knox Dough, 10551 Kingston Pike, in Knoxville, Tennessee on Wednesday, June 19, 2019.
Orange rolled ice cream with blackberry lime cookie dough at Knox Dough.
Knox News reporters Isabel Lohman and Erica Breunlin samples lavender honey and iced lemon cookie at Cruze Farms, 445 Gay St., in Knoxville.
In this 288-second time-lapse exposure, fireflies blink through the woods during the Elkmont Fireflies viewing event at Elkmont Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee on Friday, May 31, 2019. The “Photinus carolinus” firefly is the only species in America that can synchronize their light patterns as part of their annual mating ritual.
In this 345-second time-lapse exposure, fireflies blink through the woods during the Elkmont Fireflies viewing event at Elkmont Campground.
Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency Sergeant Roy Smith, right, Knoxville Police officer Michael Cooper, and Clint Smith pull a small yearling black bear with catch pole from a tree after it was tranquilized at Morningside Park in Knoxville, Tennessee on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. The 100-pound yearling black bear was most likely displaced by its mother and wandered into the city in search for food, said a TWRA Sergeant Roy Smith.
The TriStar Princesses prepare to take the stage during the preliminary round of the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Competition held at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee on Thursday, June 27, 2019.
Miss McMinnville Georgia Gardner preps backstage during the preliminary round of the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Competition.
Young fans cheer during the preliminary round of the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Competition held at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Miss Greene County Brianna Mason is crowned Miss Tennessee in the final round of the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Competition on Saturday, June 29, 2019. Mason is the first African-American to be named Miss Tennessee in the competition’s history.
Brian White holds two of his hosta plants at his nursery in Maynardville, Tennessee on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. White grows a slew of rare hosta varieties and works as a consultant for the Knoxville Botanical Garden.
A Smoky Mountain DockDog dives into the water at the annual Bike Boat Brew & Bark and Visit Knoxville Grand Prix of Tennessee at Volunteer Landing in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday, June 1, 2019.
Allison Hodge, 10, of Knoxville, and Pellissippi State sophomore Hope Boucher put together a kite during a STEM summer class at Greve Hall on the UTK campus in Knoxville, Tennessee on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Students were building kites made of string, paper and straws to learn about aerodynamics.
University of Tennessee Chancellor Dr. Donde Plowman poses for a portrait outside of Ayres Hall in Knoxville, Tennessee on Friday, June 28, 2019.
Demolition continues of the former Howard Johnson Hotel on Kingston Pike in Knoxville, Tennessee on Thursday, June 13, 2019.
My friend Alexa!
Photo walks 🙂