Close to 4,000 people were at the Old Courtyard in Visalia to celebrate the LGBT Community on Saturday during the 3rd Annual Pride Visalia.
“We want people to walk away with a sense that we all are who we are, and we all need to take pride in who we are,” said Source LGBT+ Board Member Eva Montfort.
The event began in 2016 with about 2,000 people attending the celebration at a local park but moved to Old Courtyard because of the increasing size. The 2019 festival was the largest one yet, and organizers expected close to 4,000 people to attend.
Estrella Lucerlo was at the festival on behalf of Equality California. She said events like these are important to get rid of the misconception that the valley doesn’t support the LBGT community.
“That is not true,” said Lucerlo. “There are thousands of people that are coming out today to show support and to show pride and to celebrate the LGBT community. So we want to make sure that people know that there are spaces for you to feel safe and for you to feel welcomed here and that is really exciting.
Gloria Moreno came with her niece and godson because she wants to set an example for them.
“Not only do we need to support our own family but the outside of our community,” said Moreno. “If they are not here it is the same as being silent, and they will go silent, especially our teenagers.
Typically, Pride events and parades take place in June but because of the heat of the Central Valley, Visalia hosts it in May.