Thousands celebrate diversity at Idaho Falls Pride Parade
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IDAHO FALLS — It was by far the largest turnout the Idaho Falls Pride Parade has seen in its history.
On Saturday, more than 2,000 people, stretching over a mile, marched from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Idaho Falls along the Greenbelt Riverwalk, to the the Shilo Inn and then back again.
The two-mile trek attracted people of all ages. There were hundreds of children in the parade, groups of friends, many families, business and religious supporters and local politicians all celebrating diversity in the community.
“This is the biggest and best ever, it’s just tremendous,” Idaho Falls Pride Treasurer Fred Marcum said during the march. “It’s wonderful to see so many friends, families and allies marching with us.”
Marcum said the reason the parade is held is for the LGBTQ community to promote openness and awareness in eastern Idaho.
“We need to be able to live our true lives without fear of ridicule or prejudice,” Marcum said.
For some, the event was about fighting for a cause. Bonnie Hawkins and her wife Jennifer, said the march was a celebration, but it was also about taking a stand.
“We need to be seen. We are standing up for our rights and fighting discrimination, because its still very apparent in our area,” Jennifer Hawkins said.
Others felt the event was simply to show support for the LGBTQ community. Chris and Elissa Turtin were marching with their two young sons.
“It’s a celebration, and it’s fun,” Elissa Turtin said. “It helps bring the community together, bring awareness, and make everyone in our community feel like we love each other and are there for each other.”
Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper and a number of city councilors walked to show their support of the event.
“This appears to be the biggest march we’ve ever seen in this city,” Casper said. “Acceptance is growing around the country. There are more people willing to acknowledge that they’ve been touched by this … in their lives. Everyone knows someone who is LGBTQ, and so its OK now to acknowledge it and express your love and support.”
The Idaho Fall Pride Parade was among several LGBTQ Pride events held in Idaho Falls since Thursday. The events are an extension of national Pride Month. Earlier this month, similar parades and pride events were held in Pocatello and Boise.
A LGBTQ Youth Forum will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The Pride events will wrap up with a drag competition at 7 p.m. at the GEM in Idaho Falls. Ages 14 and older can compete.
For more information visit the Idaho Falls Pride website.