Over 17,000 people gathered to watch the Phoenix Pride’s 37th annual Pride Parade on April 2 to celebrate unity and equality.
Over 2,000 parade participants marched along Third street from Thomas to Indian School to loud, upbeat music, waving flags, cheering, dancing and honking horns of floats.
On many floats, someone stood on top and blew bubbles from a bubble machine. Most states host their Pride festivals in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots in 1969, but Arizona’s Pride festivals usually occur in early April because of the heat.
Marchers included a diverse group of organizations, including District 24 legislators, the Phoenix Fire Department, Arizona State University Rainbow Coalition and PetSmart. The parade also attracted a group of protesters from Official Street Preachers, who protested the parade from behind police barricades using Public Address speakers.
“It must be hard for you to project so much hate all the time,” attendee Kaitlyn Lovejoy shouted across the barricade.
Across the street, a group of men and women from Trinity Episcopal Cathedral held signs reading “You are a blessing” and “God loves everyone, NO EXCEPTIONS” and burned frankincense, the incense used in most Catholic churches.
“They’re entering into the hate zone,” said Michal Anna Pepper of Trinity Episcopal, gesturing to attendees walking toward the protesters, “so I’m just handing out ‘Jesus Loves You’ cards.”
At one point, Pepper offered a “Jesus Loves You” business card across the barricade to the protestors.
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