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June is LGBT Pride Month—and Denver’s LGBT community and its supporters are standing strong after the tragic mass shooting in Orlando last weekend. The 41st annual Denver PrideFest, which is projected to have 350,000 attendees, is still on for this weekend.
Of course, this year’s event has taken on a new level of significance in light of the heartbreaking attack in Orlando. But the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub, which left 49 people dead and dozens more injured, isn’t changing organizers’ plans. Debra Pollock, CEO of GLBT Community Center of Colorado (the Center for short)—which puts on the festival and provides resources to and advocates for Colorado’s LGBT community—stated in a press release that, “PrideFest is about pride, and we intend to celebrate proudly this weekend…We can’t allow the massacre in Orlando to force us back in the closet.” Attendees can expect heightened security; the Center is working closely with the Denver Office of Emergency Management and the Denver Police Department to ensure all necessary safety measures are in place.
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Rex Fuller, spokesman for the Center, says he expects the energy of PrideFest to once again claim Civic Center Park like it always has—with a smattering of floats, dogs in drag, and live music. “It’s a lot of fun and color and flash,” Fuller says. “It really allows people from all corners of the community to really come out and be themselves.”
Expect a whole lot of fun and celebration, but also consider this event a space to grieve for the victims in Orlando. PrideFest has always been about resilience and community—a message that carries extra weight this year.
Civic Center Park, Sat 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m.-6 p.m.