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Thousands descend on downtown Denver for annual Pride festival

DENVER -- Thousands of people  participated in the first day of the annual two-day Pride festival at Civic Center Park this weekend.

This is the 42nd year for the event which began Saturday and runs through Sunday.

It's the largest annual fundraiser put on by the GLBT Community Center of Colorado.

Not only does the event draw more than 350,000 people to the area, it also raises money for local programs geared for LGBTQ youth and seniors.

Visitors can come to the event free of charge, and enjoy entertainment, activities and dozens of local vendors.

To ensure the safety of everyone, bags will be checked upon entry and the Denver Police Department will have officers throughout the area.

“Given the one-year anniversary of Pulse and the current political climate, we’re really ready to just be welcoming and have a celebration and really speak out on behalf of all aspects of the LGBT community," GLBT Community Center spokesman Rex Fuller said.

There will be several street closures in downtown throughout the weekend.

A parade on Sunday starts at Cheesman Park and goes down Colfax Avenue to Civic Center Park.