A somber feeling cast a shadow Sunday afternoon on the metro’s first suburban Pride event.
About 2,000 people attended the inaugural Golden Valley Pride festival held at Brookview Park, and many expressed condolences for the victims of an overnight mass shooting that killed at least 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
“Their death will not be in vain,” said Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris during the event’s kickoff.
Supporters said that, if anything, the mass shooting demonstrated the need for events such as Sunday’s.
“This shows the importance of coming together,” said Kimberly Sanberg, member of the event’s steering committee.
It’s vital to show support and love, she added.
Golden Valley Pride brought animals, children, families and elected officials from throughout the metro area.
The afternoon included an interfaith service, music, speeches and family events.
A handful of protesters holding large signs stood behind the crowd and often interacted with supporters.
Golden Valley Council Member Larry Fonnest, a member of the steering committee, estimated that 2,000 people were present. Culver’s, which had anticipated about 600 people, ran out of ice cream midway through the afternoon.
“I’m thrilled, just thrilled,” Fonnest said of the celebration’s turnout.
Lizanne Pick, who had painted her nails the colors of the rainbow Pride flag in show of support, said her daughter came out to her last summer.
“My daughter and her partner are here, and my husband and I are here to support her,” Pick said.
Charles Hubbell and his wife, Megan Kelly Hubbell, said it was important for them to bring their 3-year-old son, Henry. Charles Hubbell said when he was growing up in the early 1970s, suburban cities would not have organized events like this.
“Nothing like this would ever happen,” he said. “That’s the big change now — the acceptance.”