Why Sac Pride parade is a place where participants 'can feel free and not judged'

Thousands gather for the Sac Pride parade and festival

Thousands gathered for the Sac Pride parade and festival in downtown Sacramento on Sunday, June 10, 2018.
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Thousands gathered for the Sac Pride parade and festival in downtown Sacramento on Sunday, June 10, 2018.

The Sac Pride parade and festival brought people of all ages together Sunday to celebrate a common interest: equality. Organizers said the annual event attracted more than 15,000 people.

The day started with a march from Third and N streets in downtown Sacramento to 10th and N streets. Participants then converged on Capitol Mall for a festival that included musical entertainment and food, along with informational booths staffed by local organizations.

Carlos Marquez, board president of the Sacramento LGBTQ Community Center, said many were drawn this year by a desire to maintain rights that have already been earned and resist efforts to erode them in "an era where we feel like we're under attack in the federal environment."

"It is very clear for people that if we're not vigilant, we can lose those rights and freedoms at any given moment," he said. "It's important for us to just see the throngs of support that the community enjoys in Sacramento."

Many participants were attending their first Pride event, including Antonio Galvan, who served as a volunteer Sunday. "It's a lot grander than I thought and a lot bigger," Galvan said.

The event "means family, you want to feel safe, accepted and loved, which doesn't always happen in families," he said. "With pride, people come together as a family."

Another first-time Pride attendee, Caitlin Kabel, said she "just wanted to experience" the event, which drew a diverse crowd including children and older adults.

"I can feel free and not judged," Kabel said. "I feel safe with everyone around."

David Kert, an employee at Faces Nightclub, attended the event dressed in a unicorn jumpsuit.

"We're out here today to just celebrate. Celebrate who we are, not be afraid of who we are and that it's OK," he said.

The festival was held from from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and featured a dance floor, kids zone, art zone and a "Q-spot" where people 13 to 24 could relax and socialize.

The Bee's Lezlie Sterling contributed to this story.