RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – The Raleigh LGBTQ Center estimates that about 75,000 people attended the first full Pride festival since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Crowds descended on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh on Saturday to celebrate the Out! Raleigh Pride Festival.
A sight not seen since the pandemic began. COVID-19 led to a virtual celebration in 2020 and a car show last year.
For Alex Alberti with the Triangle Pride Band, the return of the event marked the first LGBTQ+ festival appearance in years.
“This is the first time we’ve had to play outside again to get people excited about music and Pride as a season,” Alberti said. “During COVID we’ve been making videos, multi-track video performances, but it’s actually playing back and people are hooked.”
Kade Kimber, of the Harmony LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce, said the in-person celebration also generated big business for LBGTQ+ creators and providers.
“First of all, it’s huge because of the connectivity and there’s a limited amount of things you can do virtually,” Kimber said. “There is something to be said about personal relationships.”
One seller, Orlando Evans, said he sold around 2,000 fans through the company he works for – God Glam It.
“It was amazing, it was a great turnout,” Evans said. “I was very shocked to see how many people were here in Raleigh.”
But bands and shopping aside, the event comes just a day after the US Supreme Court’s decision to overthrow Roe V. Wade and remove federal protections against abortion.
Some festival-goers brought signs and expressed their opposition to the decision.
Lux Walker said she protested the decision in downtown Raleigh on Friday and then attended the Pride Festival on Saturday.
“Today it was really important to come to Pride and to feel a sense of community and that we are not alone and that there are people who care about us and want to fight for us and everything that is happening right now,” Walker said. “I think today was especially important for all of us who were rocked by the news yesterday.”
https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/wake-county-news/75000-people-celebrate-return-of-raleigh-pride-organizers-estimate/ Festival organizers estimate that 75,000 people will celebrate the return of Raleigh Pride