Charlotte Pride Festival Drawing Lots of People From Out of Town
CHARLOTTE, NC – Thousands of people are packing Uptown this weekend for Charlotte’s annual Pride Festival. A record crowd is expected this year because of all the attention over House Bill 2.
“I couldn’t miss it. So I had to be here,” explains Detroit resident Kara Ramsey.
Organizers are expecting the largest turnout ever, upwards of 200,000 people.
“I think the eyes of the country are really on North Carolina over the last year,” explains Sarah McBride, National Spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.
“The LBGTQ community in North Carolina really feels under siege. And so I think a lot of people are in town to stand in solidarity with people who are facing discrimination from their own state government,” she says.
Last year, Charlotte Pride says 120,000 spectators made an $11.9 Million economic impact on Charlotte.
This year, the parade has more corporate sponsors and parade entries are up 10 percent.
“The whole world is watching what happens here,” explains Kristen Browde, a transgender woman from New York.
“Their struggle for equality is our struggle for equality. To be down here and supporting them, knowing what they go through, it’s just awesome,” she says.
For the first time, this year’s festival and parade have been declared an extraordinary event.
That gives CMPD more authority to stop and search people.
“We have a phenomenal working relationship with CMPD. And and today there’s no discernible difference in the security so police are here doing their job, community members are here having fun, a fun safe weekend for everybody,” explains Matt Comer.