MINNEAPOLIS - More than 350 thousand people are estimated to take part in the 45th Annual Twin Cities Pride Festival.
It kicked off Friday night and continued all day Saturday in Loring Park. The overall emotion at the event was of freedom and acceptance.
People of many ages and from various backgrounds told KARE 11 they were there in support of the LGBTQ community.
"When marriage was first made legal and all of a sudden I felt like I didn’t have to hide the fact that I was engaged," said Kelly Neff from Edina, "and that’s something you never have to worry about here, though, at Pride."
Rachel Osband, a Minneapolis resident, said she thinks the celebration is great for the community.
"I love everything it stands for," she said. "It’s always really positive, and I think it's just, it’s good for the kids to see everything, all the different people, all of the excitement."
Twin cities Athlete and trainer Jaysen Saly was the first openly gay contestant to compete on the hit show American Ninja Warrior. He goes by the name Rainbow Ninja, and he is at Pride weekend showing people what it takes to be on the show.
"At first it was challenging for me personally, but when I was in the ninja community it was a piece of cake," he said. "Everybody was embracing me as who I was. They didn’t care. All they cared was that I beat the obstacle course."
The Twin Cities Pride Festival is one of the biggest in the country. It began 45 years ago, in 1972. In fact, the first event wasn’t a festival, but a protest for equality.
A lot of people Saturday were happy that the community has come so far.
This year’s headliner is En Vogue, performing from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 dollars in advance and they are also available at Loring Park. There will be fireworks after the concert.
On Sunday, the Rainbow Run takes place at 9:30 a.m., followed by the much-anticipated Pride Parade at 11.
More information on the weekend's events can be found on the Twin Cities Pride website.
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