DENVER -- Hundreds of thousands of people piled into downtown Denver on Sunday to celebrate the city’s 40th annual PrideFest.
The highlight of the event, as it is every year, was the PrideFest parade that swiveled down Colfax Avenue and spilled into Civic Center Park.
Event organizers estimated 350,000 people attended the weekend-long LGBTQ celebration.
“I’ve been out since 1970,” said Lin Olmstead, who marched in this year’s parade. “And I’ve been marching it in every year.”
Olmstead, along with everyone else in attendance, couldn’t help but think of the significance associated with this year’s PrideFest, given the tragedy at an Orlando, Fla., gay bar the weekend before. The 49 people who were killed were honored.
“It was so sad. I cried. And I cry now, seeing all these beautiful people,” said David Wells, who has been out since the early 1980s and was cheering from the streets.
For some, the thought of violence happening at the parade was a concern. But those same people also said they refused to live in fear.
“This year, everybody was a little nervous about coming out, but we’re all out here for the parade and having fun,” Shavun Holzman said.
The celebration ended in Civic Center Park. At noon, Gov. John Hickenlooper addressed the crowd, showing his support for the LGBTQ community.
A #WeAreOrlando chalk wall was also put up in the park, where people could write their thoughts and prayers for the Orlando victims.
“I wrote ‘Hope’ because what we see all the time is the hope of a community that comes out after a tragedy like this,” Rebecca Laurie said.
When tragedy occurs, it can easily send fear through a community and tear it apart. This weekend, pride kept the Colorado community together.AlertMe