The Capital City Pride festival turned 25 this year, and Sunday’s downtown Olympia parade, a regular feature of the weekend festivities, didn’t disappoint as hundreds turned out to celebrate and show support for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
The parade itself also attracted 70 to 80 entries this year, making it one of the largest in the history of the event, festival chairwoman Anna Schlecht said.
Schlecht has been a key figure in the pride celebration since it began in 1991.
Putting on the weekend festival requires a lot of work, but “moments like this make it worth it,” she said about the parade.
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“I’m happy and smiling,” Schlecht added.
The parade started at the Capitol Campus, then headed down Capitol Way before it took a left on Legion Way and ended at Heritage Park.
Parade entrants included the Olympia and Tumwater fire departments, the Olympia Police Department, elected officials, church groups, nonprofits, and several candidates for office.
Also in the parade were co-founders of the original pride event: Victoria Marinelli and Sidney Evans, both of whom rode in convertibles near the front of the parade.
Marinelli, 44, of Portland rode with her two daughters and said she was amazed and humbled at how big an event it has become.
She also praised Schlecht and her energy to keep Capital City Pride going.
Marinelli said it was her first time to return to the event in years.
Sunday’s parade was a first-time occasion for grandfather Yance Summers and grandmother Nana Cat, both of Olympia, and their granddaughter Skye Cyr of Tacoma.
And perched on Summers’ shoulder was Mo, a blue-fronted Amazon parrot, clearly unconcerned about being blind in one eye.
Summers described her as the “spoiled, last child.”
“She loves to be out in public,” he said.
The family was just some of the hundreds of people who lined Capitol Way, mostly around Sylvester Park and the Governor Hotel.
Schlecht said it’s wonderful that so many people celebrate the LGBT community, but it’s also great to see the community take pride in being so welcoming.
After the parade, all that was left to do was to clean up glitter along the parade route, she said.