The seventh annual Durango Pride Festival will be kicking off Wednesday. Formerly called the Four Corners Pride Festival, the event offers five days of fun events for everyone.
And, in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, last week, festival organizers are expecting a lot of people.
“I am definitely preparing myself for a larger turnout,” said Kristi Dean, chairperson for the Four Corners Alliance for Diversity and coordinator for Durango Pride.
“One of the things I love about Pride is that there’s always been a large number since we moved it into town – it used to be something that was just for the queer community. (The move ) create that space for our allies to show solidarity,” said Jude Harrison with Four Corners Support for Transgender People, Allies and Relatives. “And we’re going to see a lot of people come out.”
So what are some events not to miss?
“I would push for the parade, personally, because it’s going to be the most visible for people,” said Rowan Blaisdell, co-founder of the Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center. “I would love to see us have a couple of hundred people on the street.”
The parade isn’t just for spectators. Participants are encouraged to start lining up at 11 a.m. in the Grass Burger parking lot.
The festival in Buckley Park after the parade is another favorite. There will be entertainment, a children’s venue and food and drinks.
The river float has changed this year, Dean said. Mountain Waters Rafting is offering $20 rides. People can also meet up with their own rafts at the 32nd Street put-in.
Also be sure to check out dueling pianos between Elton John and Liberace impersonators June 24 and June 25 at Derailed Pour House.
And while the week will be filled with fun, it’s the feeling of unity in the community that is important. It’s also sending a positive message to our young people, Dean said.
“I think for the youth ... events and festivals like this that we old people can host and put on so that the young people feel safe and say, ‘See? There is a change,’” Dean said. “And they’re not having to constantly be the ones to fight the battle. ... I am spending all my time and all my effort and all my volunteer hours to make a place where young people – college students, high school students – can come out and play. And they see all these community members, all these allies there, and say, “Wow. So it’s OK.’”