Tens of thousands lined the streets in downtown Salt Lake City this weekend to celebrate Utah’s biggest-ever gay pride festival.
The party atmosphere Sunday essentially turned the parade route into a giant block party.
And aside from the handful of protesters holding anti-gay signs on one street corner, the two-hour parade was filled with cheering, dancing and people wearing just about anything and everything — and sometimes next to nothing. […]
Drag queens marched along city streets in high heels, rode bicycles and waved from the back of trucks. The Dykes on Bikes motorcycle club roared along the parade route. Men in Speedos and women in bikinis danced to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”
And there were lots and lots of rainbow flags — including one that stretched an entire city block.
“We’ve been consistently breaking records this entire festival,” said Marina Gomberg, spokeswoman for the Utah Pride Center.
This year’s 100-entry event — now ranked among the top two parades in the state in terms of size — seemed to signal that the LGBT community has become more mainstream and that businesses and politicians recognize its clout.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon were among the elected officials with parade entries.
“My hope is that as we enjoy the celebration this weekend, we can remember to always respect the diversity we have in our community, in our society and in our world,” said Becker at a Utah Pride Interfaith Coalition service on Saturday.
“Salt Lake City is changing,” said one resident. “It’s nice to see people accepting each other for who they are.”