Las Vegas Pride Festival celebrates love, unity and strength - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Las Vegas Pride Festival celebrates love, unity and strength

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Las Vegas Pride festival attendees enjoy a performance Oct. 22, 2017 (Cherney Amhara / FOX5). Las Vegas Pride festival attendees enjoy a performance Oct. 22, 2017 (Cherney Amhara / FOX5).
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Las Vegas was painted in rainbows all weekend with a celebration of diversity and unity.

“An environment where it’s completely safe,” said Pride President James Healey. “To express yourself as who you really are.”

The annual Pride Parade and Festival brought out thousands of people, but the big crowd also stirred up safety concerns.

Festival organizers said safety is always a concern, but Pride is the Valley’s biggest festival after the mass shooting on the strip, and police presence was heavy. Healey said, for many people, the festival was a mental escape from the 1 October tragedy, that claimed the lives of 58 festival goers.

“The festival gave people an opportunity to come together and be together in such a happy and positive environment,” Healey said. “Reflect on what happened, but continue with the mission to live our lives.”

That is exactly what happened.

“Getting the community together in any way we can I believe is strengthening the community,” said Cody Clark, from Cody Clark State Farm and Pride Dance Group, “It’s strengthening each other.”

It’s not just about the adults, children were at the festival celebrating their families too.

“We are proud to be a family formed by two moms,” said festival attendee Amber Guzman, “And our boy.”

The two moms,  Stephanie and Amber Guzman, said they wanted their son Benjamin to see that there are many families just like his own.

“I’m excited to see everything about the festival,” Benjamin Guzman said. “And to learn.”

Aside from celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, the main focus of the festival was protecting the crowd.

“Particularly after October 1,” Healey said. “We got in touch with Metro, we beefed up the security team that we have inside the festival.”

Still, organizers said the weekend wasn’t about fear, it was about spreading the love.

“Love everybody no matter what,” Stephanie Guzman said.

This year, 25,000 people kicked off the Pride Parade. Healey said that was the largest crowd in the history of the event.

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