by Greg Ellison
DENVER — Tens of thousands of revelers took over Civic Center Park in Denver Sunday for the annual Denver PrideFest and Parade. Overcast skies had little effect on the party atmosphere.
The first PrideFest took place in 1976. Now in its 38th year, the festival continues to attract people from Colorado, other states and even other countries.
Marina Flores traveled from Mexico City for this year’s event. Flores said, “This is a wonderful event, beautiful people, just amazing. These are special people, friendly and honest.”
Rainbow colors were the theme of the day, with extensive vending options catering to a wide variety of interests. Food, drinks, clothing, jewelry, stained glass and other novelties were available. Multiple stages offered thumping techno, soul and even country music.
This is the first year the event was fenced in, with all in attendance subject to bag searches.
Recently relocated from San Diego, Matthew Delacruz was having fun in the sun, saying “It’s my first Denver PrideFest, lots of good people. This is the first year it’s fenced in, which I think is due to the 4-20 shooting.”
Delacruz wondered if they will charge admittance next year.
Not everyone traveled for the festivities. Colorado resident Matt Egan said, “Love the PrideFest; it’s a fun place to be yourself.”
Some of those in attendance were having too much fun to go home. Maggie Wolenter said, “I’m attending from New Jersey, the PrideFest has me ready to move to Colorado.”
Festival veteran Don Van Splinter enjoyed the parade, “Lots of new floats this year. I’ve tried to come every year over the last 17 or 18.”
Of course the alternative lifestyle is still not embraced by all. John, who asked that his last name be withheld because his family would not approve of the event, said “This is a good time, had a lot of fun, this is my third in Denver.”
The PrideFest is presented by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Colorado. Intended to honor the culture and heritage of the alternative lifestyle community, the PrideFest provides a fun and safe party atmosphere where all are welcome.
Traveling from San Diego for the event Nia Valerio said, “I think it’s beautiful, it’s huge, and the people are lovely.”
The festivities wind down this evening, but if you missed this year mark your calendar for next June when yet another celebration will attract throngs of revelers.