Rainbows dotted the metro area Sunday, despite a gray morning filled with rain and hailstorms.
A trio of events kicked off Pride month, including the second annual Golden Valley Pride Festival, a “queer prom” for adults and an Equality March at the Capitol in St. Paul, one of many local extensions of a large event in Washington, D.C.
Attendees said the spirit of the events — which ranged from celebratory to somber — wasn’t dampened by the weather, but it did cause the Equality March for Unity and Pride in St. Paul to become a small umbrella-filled rally rather than a parade.
In Golden Valley, the festival turnout was nearly double that of last year. More than 5,000 people filled Brookview Park to listen to bands, hang out in the beer garden and participate in a fun run organized by the Girl Scouts.
“They came out in droves — Golden Valley really showed their resilience as well as their diversity,” said John Kluchka, the event’s co-chair.
Nanette Stearns, who was there for Quatrefoil, the Minneapolis LGBT lending library, said, “I think we got a lot of non-GLBT folks to the event to show support.” Meanwhile in St. Paul, dozens of people took the weather in stride, joining about 100 cities across the country that held their own Equality Marches for Unity and Pride.
“They were determined to have the rally no matter what,” said June Kuoch, who spoke at the Capitol.
The larger theme of the national and international marches was to protest President Donald Trump’s agenda in hopes that it doesn’t erode recent progress on gay rights and marriage equality.
But Kuoch said the mood in St. Paul was somber, especially during a tribute for the victims of the mass shooting at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Monday is the one-year anniversary of the tragedy that left 49 people dead.
The night ended with the sixth annual Queer Prom, held in downtown Minneapolis at Hell’s Kitchen restaurant and bar.
June is Pride Month across the country. The Twin Cities’ annual Pride festival and march take place June 24-25 at Loring Park.