Pride Fest in Colorado Springs broke records this year, drawing thousands to celebrate its 23rd anniversary.
Organizers claimed that the two-day festival, held earlier this month, had its highest turnout since its inception in 1990. Charles Irwin, the executive director of cosPride, said the event “more than doubled in size” since last year’s festivities.
He attributed the record-breaking attendance to the change in venue to the America the Beautiful Park, and also to the sweeping cultural and political shifts in the city and throughout the country.
"There's a real shift in the perception of the population in Colorado Springs and the country as a whole, where they want equality for everyone across the board," Irwin told The Gazette, a local paper.
Colorado Senate President John Morse also made an appearance, speaking to the jubilant crowd about the state’s recent passage of civil unions between same-sex couples.
"We now understand putting people down because of who and what they are doesn't make any sense and so we need to stop doing it," Morse said, according to FOX21 news.
The festival concluded with the Big Gay 5K, in which more than 150 members of the LGBT community and allies ran side by side to raise funds for the Pikes Peak Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Colorado Springs.
"The more we can get people of different backgrounds together to interact, the better understanding we're gonna have of each other and a more healthy community," organizer Clink Knox told KOAA.