FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Despite protests and backlash from some community members and parts of the city council, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s Family Pride Night event was held Friday night. The zoo says it is a celebration of pride month and featured fun for the whole family.
“This event is really no exception to what we do all the time. I think folks have focused on it in a way that is unusual, but the event itself is exactly what we do,” Zoo CEO Jon Forrest Dohlin said.
Forrest Dohlin says they could not be prouder to put on an event where families felt welcomed, and the LGBT community was celebrated.
“This is what our mission is all about right? Is to get people engaged like this. I think it makes the staff proud to see that we are who we say we are, and we do what we say we will do,” Forrest Dohlin said.
Complete with games, music, food trucks, and even a drag show, the zoo says around a thousand people came to the sold-out event.
But it was not without backlash, earlier this week a protest was held downtown to call out the event, saying it was not family-friendly, and the city council should not be promoting it.
However, Forrest Dahlin says, they are happy to celebrate pride month and the event was not inappropriate for kids.
“We are all about being inclusive, about building diverse audiences, about going out and making that invite to bring people here,” Forrest Dohlin said.
For Zayn Anthony, bringing his kids to the zoo for this event was special. He says it means a lot to him to see there are people in the community who are accepting of him and his family.
“I brought my kids here today, and I know they get excited they get excited, and their faces light up whenever they see somebody they could relate to,” Anthony said.
This was an after-hours event that people rsvp’d to attend.