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Nearly 8,000 attend Olympia Pride
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Nearly 8,000 attend Olympia Pride

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Organizers of Capital City Pride said they were expecting a large crowd of people from around the region to attend the weekend of events and Pride Parade - but nobody foresaw the crowd of nearly 8,000 who showed up to celebrate in downtown Olympia June 21.

"We were prepared to see a real downturn in participation and tourism this year due to the economy, but we're thrilled because it just hasn't happened," said Tony Sermonti, chairman of Capital City Pride.

This year, Capital City Pride exceeded fundraising expectations, broke the record for number of booths in Sylvester Park, and organized the largest parade yet, making Olympia Pride a huge success.

"Olympia Pride was Great!" said Sermonti. "The weather totally cooperated and we had the largest Pride Parade Capital City has ever seen. We had about 65 entries, including Dykes on Bikes and a servicemembers network color guard from the Portland area."

The theme for the Pride celebration was "Pride with a Purpose." Committee members said it was a direct response to helping out the broader community through tough economic times. Capital City Pride chose the Thurston County Food Bank and the Olympia YMCA to support financially.

The all-day festival began at 11 a.m. June 21 in downtown Olympia at Sylvester Park. The parade began at noon and featured Seattle's own 50-piece Rainbow City Marching Band, which Olympia Pride said was the "highlight of the parade."

Sermonti said the weekend really began Thursday, June 18, with concerts, shows, and dance events throughout the city. He also noted a large number of out-of-town guests who came to enjoy the festivities. He said it was important to see people show up in Olympia to support the city's Pride because the town at the center of a lot of work that goes on to move LGBT families and the state forward.

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