Rainbow flags waved in the sun as those in the 30th annual Spokane Pride parade made a quick procession through downtown on Saturday.
Despite the gloomy weekend forecast, no rain fell on the approximately 3,000 marchers who were registered with Spokane Pride in 2022. That number increased by more than double since the last time Spokane Pride held a parade through downtown, said Esteben Herevia, president of the board of Spokane Pride (formerly known as OutSpokane). Additionally, the event increased its number of booths from 80 in 2019 to 125 in 2022, Herevia said.
In-person events were canceled for Pride in 2020 and 2021. This year, the hope was to show appreciation and to thank attendees for simply being there in 2022, Herevia said.
“We know the pandemic was really hard for people and a lot of people really struggled with it,” he said. “We just want everyone to know we are just so proud of you.”
The event organizers have also gone to extra lengths to make this year’s Pride activities more inclusive to people with disabilities, such as adding more sign language for the hard of hearing, Herevia said.
The Pride parade has grown by magnitudes since its humble beginnings in the early ‘90s from a small protest march through the streets of downtown Spokane to encompassing all of Riverfront Park and featuring a stage at the newly revamped Pavilion.
Rainbow-colored stockings, rainbow-colored hair, rainbow-colored pets mingled in the clutches of thousands in the park and downtown throughout the day.
“I almost didn’t come out today,” said Ray Pierre, who admitted that she was feeling a little down in recent days. “I’ve been really lonely for a long time. Being able to come here and see people here, it’s really happy and uplifting.”
While a group of masked far-right extremists was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to riot near Coeur d’Alene’s Pride event Saturday, the scene in Spokane was peaceful.
Keith Davis said that he and his wife, Kathleen, both came out to Pride in support of their daughter Marissa to show her that “she’s got a community and to show her we believe in inclusion.”
“It’s just to show our significance in the community,” said Josh Morello, standing among the crowd. “We are a big footprint and not just a small group. They can’t just shoo us away.”
Zack Kerr said he was happy to be back at Pride after the two-year hiatus during COVID. “It’s certainly a bigger turnout, and people are turned up.”
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