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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Pride 2023: ‘Never Going Back’ event is downtown Saturday

It took a group of more than 70 people to carry a giant pride flag in the Spokane Pride Parade last June on Riverside Avenue.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Spokane’s Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday will be larger this year, taking up most of Riverfront Park.

This year’s theme is “Never Going Back.”

The parade starts at noon from Stevens Street at Spokane Falls Boulevard, following a backward ‘L’ shape before returning to the park through Howard Street, ending by crossing over the new pride flag-painted intersection in front of the park.

The parade will be led by Spokane’s two-spirit and Indigiqueer community. Two-spirited individuals are Native Americans with a third gender or nonbinary identity.

Friday will be Spokane’s first Two-Spirit Powwow, starting at 1 p.m. in the park’s Lilac Bowl, with drumming, dancing, dinner and a royalty pageant.

The festival after the parade Saturday will continue until 6 p.m. with over 160 vendors and five stages of entertainment throughout the park. The celebration has expanded significantly from last year when it was still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, said Rose Stevens, treasurer of Spokane Pride.

To help navigate, Spokane Pride is launching an interactive map through its website that will make it easy to find every vendor, stage and restroom.

This year, the youth area will have its own stage and entertainment. Odyssey Youth Movement will organize activities and social services for teens ages 13-18.

Spark Central is hosting a kids zone for ages 12 and under.

The Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ Americans following an “unprecedented and dangerous spike” in anti-LGBTQ legislation.

That’s not something to take lightly, Stevens said.

Events like this are important so that the community can feel safe to show up, she said, emphasizing that everyone is welcome.

“At the end of the day, it is about coming out, being proud of who you are, loving who you are and showing up as yourself.”

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.