Dozens of cellphones were raised in the air, snapping photos and shooting video, as more than 400 students crowded Thursday into the Columbia Basin College student union building for a performance by Vida Morales y Las Divas Latinas.
When the drag queens finally arrived on stage, 20 minutes after the scheduled start time, the crowd erupted in laughter and cheers.
Many of the students didnt know what to expect at the event, which had been widely publicized on campus as a Dont Be a Drag -- Just Be a Queen event.
Some students went for extra credit for a class, others went for free entertainment and popcorn.
Morales and her divas perform in costume, lip synching songs by Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez, at events all throughout the region.
The Associated Students of Columbia Basin College brought the group to campus. The group is funded by a services and activities fee paid by each student each quarter.
The event was organized by ASCBCs current president, Ruben Zecena, 19, of Pasco, with the belief that a good educational environment is due, in part, to people being free to be who they want to be.
Initially, Zecena was met with some resistance. Several students were offended by the event when it was in the planning stages and voiced their concerns to the ASCBC leadership.
However, Zecena said events like these are in ASCBCs job description. We serve the whole student body, including lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGBT) students, he said.
While the mood at the event was, in the words of Olivia Davies, 17, of Pasco, mellow and positive, there were some derisive comments and laughter from the crowd.
Kasey Markland, 20, of Finley, said the show reflected societys obsession with sexuality and that the audience was there for the novelty.
Many students said they had never attended a drag queen show or participated in a gay pride event before.
In the end, the event was a success, Zecena said. The drag show had the highest student turnout for the school year so far.
Everyone was having a great time, he said. Some looked uncomfortable at first, but by the end everyone was cheering.
He hopes to further the momentum by founding a Gay-Straight Alliance at CBC this spring.
We really brought the (LGBT) community to campus, Zecena said.