‘I love just love’: Thousands come out to support Victoria’s 30th consecutive Pride Festival

'I love just love': Thousands come out to support Victoria’s 30th consecutive Pride Festival
CHEK
There were 127 floats in Victoria's 30th Pride Parade.

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Victoria Sunday to watch Victoria Pride Society’s 30th consecutive Pride Parade and festival.

The first Pride Parade was hosted in the capital city in 1994.

Thirty years later, it’s one of the biggest events in Victoria, with upwards of 40,000 people coming together to celebrate diversity, love and equality.

“It’s incredible to see people out here,” Ace Mann, Victoria Pride Society president, said. “Pride is always a protest, but today is also when we get to come together to celebrate and connect.”

Many in the crowd told CHEK News they were there supporting neighbours, friends and family.

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“I’m here today as a proud ally supporting my first born child who we love so much,” Shannon Dunlop said.

Larissa Beeston told CHEK News she was celebrating because “I love just love, everybody loving each other and just celebrating.”

Others attended to ensure their voice as a member of the LGBTQ+ community was heard.

Skye Sullivan, who identifies as a queer youth, said Pride is an important event to show how far acceptance of her community has come.

“It’s really important to me, especially as a youth, to just feel accepted in a place and to know there is a community for people,” Sullivan explained.

Mann said while it’s encouraging to see so many people come out and support Pride, there is still lots of work to do.

“I really want to see these people show out when it’s not just rainbows and glitter during Pride week,” they said. “We are fighting for lots of stuff all year round and I really want to see people come out for that too.”

There were 127 floats in this years parade, which was disrupted part way through.

Victoria Police says a group of about 40 protesters blocked the parade route. The parade was rerouted and the protesters dispersed without incident.

A group of pro-Palestine protesters says it was their group who disrupted the parade, saying there were groups that had floats in the parade that were supporting Israel, and called on the Victoria Pride Society to end association with those groups.

READ MORE: Victoria Pride parade disrupted by pro-Palestine protesters, route redirected

“They’re not unreasonable demands and they’re already things that we’re trying to do because they make a lot of sense. We’re trying to make sure that Pride is serving our most equity deserving people and that’s what we’re going to continue to do. It’s a big ship to steer and sometimes it takes awhile, there are somethings we can’t do quickly,” Mann said.

The Pride festival continued throughout Sunday afternoon at McDonald Park, featuring a number of performers, vendors and Drag shows.

Thousands attended the festival grounds which Mann said was exciting to see.

“I’m thrilled to be able to get to 30 [consecutive parades and pride festivals] and I can’t wait to see 60,” they said.

Watch the Victoria Pride Parade live on CHEK and CHEK+

With files from CHEK’s Kori Sidaway and Laura Brougham

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