I-35W Bridge To Glow In Rainbow Colors For Pride Festival

Additional reporting by Samantha Smith, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River will be getting a festive makeover for Twin Cities Pride this weekend.

The bridge’s underpass will be lit up in a rainbow, instead of its usual blue glow, starting at 9:20 p.m. Friday. Twin Cities Pride celebrates the metro area’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

It was a long process for Twin Cities Pride to get the special lighting request approved. Several different entities had to come together including the City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minnesota Department of Transportation and Outfront Minnesota.

“It took two and a half years to put in place, but this year, for the first year, we’ll do it,” said Minneapolis Councilman Robert Lilligren, who says the idea first came from a friend.

While rainbows are often associated with LGBT organizations, Minneapolis City Councilman Robert Lilligren says this is about more than that.

“More generally, a rainbow is an inclusive symbol, a symbol of diversity and that is who we are here. Because of the tragedy of its collapse it draws a lot of attention. The bridge was put in place with these lights, this LED system that can be easily changed to be a community asset,” said Lilligren. “In a lot of ways it more broadly represents inclusion and diversity and it’s a great symbol for that which is really, in a lot of ways, what Minneapolis is all about.”

MnDOT will adjust 570 light fixtures on the bridge to rainbow colors, and another 48 light fixtures will make the bridge piers glow purple. Councilman Lilligren says there was no additional cost to light up the bridge in rainbow colors since the LED lighting system was already in place.

The IT experts behind the Pride Festival say technically, it’s a simple switch, but symbolically, it has big impact.

“For me, I think its pride, equality and celebration,” said Twin Cities Pride volunteer Matt Shaw. “I think it shows a lot of respect for the community for our feelings and our rights.”

“I think there might be some people out there that think we are throwing it in their face, but that could be a good thing, because we aren’t go away we are here and here to stay,” said Twin Cities pride volunteer Eric Zimmerman.

Organizers realize the colors can connect and divide two sides, after Minnesota lawmakers passed a 2012 ballot amendment to ban gay marriage in the state constitution. Chuck Derrill with the Minnesota Family Council said the symbol should serve as a different kind of reminder.

“We hope that when people see the lit up bridge that they should be reminded that they will be able to vote on marriage in 2012, just like voters have done in 31 other states,” said Derrill.

John Schneider and his wife live next to the bridge, and say it’s a welcome change.

“It would make the bridge quite pretty, an inclusive message, certainly, one with which some people disagree, ok, but it’s a rainbow folks, c’mon,” said Schneider.

City and community leaders will celebrate the special event with a small gathering Friday evening followed by the lighting at 9:20 p.m.

The festival continues through Sunday.

Here are the details from the city.

“The I-35W Bridge’s “snowbound white” surface will glow in rainbow colors Friday night in recognition of Twin Cities Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is providing the special lighting, which was requested by the non-profit organization Twin Cities Pride, with the support of the City of Minneapolis.

“City Council Vice President will be joined by State Senator Scott Dibble, Twin Cities Pride Director Dot Belstler, and other community representatives for the lighting. Governor Mark Dayton and Mayor R.T. Rybak have also been invited. The event is a cooperative effort of Twin Cities Pride, the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, OutFront Minnesota, and the Saloon.”

WCCO’s Samantha Smith Interviews Lilligren

  • JAnderson

    I have no problems with this, however, would it be allowed to have different colored lights if this was a Marriage festival between a man and woman? or some other kind of festival? I highly doubt it. I just wish/hope that the “proud” people would start to realize instead of complain that they already have A LOT of rights/freedoms/flexibility.

    • stace34

      If you have an established celebration go through the 2 1/2 year process to have the bridge lit up. Jump though all the hopes that the Pride organizers did. Until you do that and are denied you don’t get to make assumptions.

      Also would you be satisfied with “A LOT of rights/freedsoms/flexibility” but not equal rights. That is just ingnorant to think that someone should be happy to get less rights than others.

    • James2

      Why don’t you work on that? And a lot of freedoms doesn’t mean equal. Still though, the bridge would also look great in pink for breast cancer awareness for example. So please come up with a plan. Also J, marriage festivals between a man and a woman are called weddings. They happen everyday.

      • Marcellus Wallace

        My partner & I have been together for 16 long,love-filled,amorous years..I’d marry him today if it were allowed..Until that day,I’ll cherish him with all my love.

    • Marcellus Wallace

      Good grief. Just leave them alone and stop thinking there’s a double standard against straights. The fact of the matter is the gay public are ostracized, and you attempt it further by insinuating it’s superfluous, as they already have everything they need.

      • Marcellus Wallace

        You aren’t qualified to determine what is perverted or what is a lifestyle and what isn’t.

        But since you’re obviously so against gays being gay, what should be done with gays? Should they be allowed to be gay at all? I’m sure you’re against gay marriage, so isn’t being against “being gay” the next logical step for you?

        So what should the “Final Solution” be to the “Gay Problem?”

      • Marc Wall

        @Marcellus Wallace (Les Johnson)..Your analogies always fail to sway or make coherent sense..get a job & log off for awhile.

    • sickofpeoplegettingspecialtreatment

      I agree with you Janderson 100%. hmmm i hwonder when straight pride day is?

      • stace34

        Orgainze it, pay for it and go through the 2 1/2 year process. Until you do all of that what is your point? Really until you go though the steps that Pride had to to make this happen it won’t. And until you do that you don’t get to complain and play the victim .

        I am sick of people complaining that others get special treatment when that group goes through the same process that any other group can to though to make something like this happen. There is no special treatment. If you want the bridge colored for your reason go through the process or shut up.

      • James2

        Straight Pride Day is everyday, every hour, every minute, all year. If not, organize one.

      • scott


        • Technology

          Everyday i see my dream…

    • See BS

      If you include “Civil Unions”, Gays have equal protection. They didn’t have any special “Gay BLT” laws when those two guys in Montana killed a known Meth Supplier (Mathew Sheppard) and they went to prison.

      And you can be fired from a job, or even arrested for being heterosexual. Just like that Basketball player who posted something nice on a Facebook wall.

      The while Gay BLT thing comes across like a supremacy movement.

    • Ken Feucht

      The lights were pink for breast cancer awareness last year.

      “A LOT of rights/freedoms/flexibility”

      Just not as many as straights. You’re OK with that?

  • Le Duex

    Matt you are a moron. I plan on being there to support my friends who have nothing wrong with them. I am heterosexual and I don’t understand stupid people like you saying dumb things like you say. These folks have no choice in the matter like you and I have no choice who we are attracted to. Who would choose that? It has to be tough.

    • Kevin

      Oh my Le Duex…..such an anger issues……moron…dumb…..dont worry about your size….your glitter thrower “friends” wont mind……now go enjoy supporting your “friends” beach balls….and remember…that most of could give a shi* about you and the little tuna tasters and glitter throwers….YOU ARE THE MINORITY!!!!

      • Sam

        Wow, Kevin. With that bile-filled post, you accuse someone else of having anger issues?

        There’s so much hate-filled rhetoric in this entire section, all over an article about some pretty lights on a bridge. People claiming to be Christian while hating their fellow man (and don’t give me that “hate the sin” garbage… I’m not hearing “tuna tasting,” I’m hearing “tuna tasters.” That’s using a pejorative for the person, not the so-called sin). Fix the problems with yourself before you start coming down on those around you.

  • Who is paying?

    Who is paying for this?? I sure hope its being funded by a private group. Its disturbing to pay this much money to change lights and not fix roads and fill pot holes. (Story on news last night about how bad pot holes are and no funding to fix)

    • James2

      Not one cent of tax money is paying for this.

      • YoMaMJ

        William KKK – you are so ignorant. Yes, the PRIDE committee has to pay for all of that. Grow up.

      • john st paul

        fix the pot holes and other road projects instead of some stupid rainbow lights. what a waste of money no matter if its tax payers or theres, what a waste thats all i can say about that and who cares what you do in the bed room I just dont care to know so keep it private to yourselves ok i dont go around telling you what i do in the bedroom do I.

    • Mr. M

      The city and state actually makes money off the event. It’s a wonderful economy boost. Gay weddings would also help boost the economy. Fact.

      • Phid

        Using your logic, allowing man-dog weddings would also “help boost the economy”. Allowing a man to marry multiple wives would also “help boost the economy”. Fact.

        • Phid

          In other words, “helping the economy” is hardly the issue here. There are plenty of things in life that would create at least a short-term economic boost, but which society frowns upon because they are simply wrong.

        • Mr. M

          Man-Dog, Woman-Cat, Parrot-Monkey weddings … fine with me. I’m open minded and I’m sure the press would love to cover such a story. Yeah, when people spend money on weddings, it generates income for businesses and the state. Fact. I never stated if it was right or wrong. Fact. It’s also legal for two consenting adults of the same sex to have sex and love one another. Fact. So lets capitalize on that with money generating weddings. It can be done. Hey, if you don’t agree with the wedding, simply don’t have one yourself or don’t attend. It’s just that easy.

      • Brad

        So is a new Vikings stadium.

    • DARREN

      I totally agree, WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS?

  • Barb

    “how about getting them spiritual help to realize that there is something wrong with them!!

    REALLY? More people have been killed for spirtual reason than any other reason in the world. I love Christains and all thier bloody wars for “GOD” you all make me sick. Really you think thats what god wanted…… what a moron

    When you were a young man and a beatiful girl walked in the room did your heart beat faster? did u get excited? That was a response you can not stop it it is nature. Wonder if you were the same man only when a man walked in the room you felt the same way? Not something you can do about it that’s just the way it is. It is the way you were born and meant to be. Spirt has NOTHING to do with it.

  • James2

    Please turn your head to the side or use your sleeve. Thanks.

  • Sam I am

    Who is paying for this. Give me a break.

    • max

      Read the article. The lights were installed to be easily changed when the bridge was built.

  • lcanty

    frivolous and ridiculous.

  • TrueRainbow

    Genesis 9:12-16
    And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: [13] I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. [14] Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, [15] I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. [16] Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
    Genesis 9:12-16. Just wanted to make sure people knew what the rainbow really symbolized. LGBT community have adopted the rainbow as their mark 20 maybe 30 years ago. If you gays truly believe it’s a symbol of unity and diversity, than you won’t get upset that my view is somewhat “different” than yours. Lets see how tolerant you really are, cause I think you’re tolerant as long as people agree with you or don’t say that you are wrong. The definition of tolerance is: The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not agree with. So, if this is the true definition of tolerance, and if the LGBT community professes to BE tolerant, than they should have no problem if someone disagrees with them. And please don’t back at me and say that I’m the one being intolerant. I didn’t broadcast my “tolerance” on the news.

    • Marcellus Wallace

      You disagree with being tolerant towards gays, and you think it’s ok to be that way and want to be tolerated for your non-tolerance?

      Uhhh, no. Grow up and be on the right side of history.

      • TrueRainbow

        So, you are intolerant of my belief? Great! Just don’t call yourself tolerant. I never claimed to be tolerant.

        • Marcellus Wallace

          So you’re coming right and saying you’re intolerant of gays. Interesting.

          So what should be done with gays? Clearly you find just the fact that they’re gay to be morally reprehensible.

          And since your moral compass must be pointing straight to heaven, what do you feel should be done about the “Gay Problem?”

          Have you come up with a “Final Solution” yet?

        • vuhruhto

          I don’t claim to be tolerant either. In fact, I’ll claim to be intolerant. I’m intolerant of people against equality for me, my family, and my friends. I’m intolerant of people who will vote to enshrine discrimination into our state’s constitution. I’m intolerant of those that believe that being gay is a choice and changeable, when they themselves don’t remember choosing to be straight, or imagining that they could change that fact. I’m intolerant of those that quote the bible against me, but won’t take verbatim every verse in the bible and apply that to their own lives. You can’t have it all ways. So feel free to count me as one intolerant gay. But I don’t speak for us all.

          • Mr. M


          • Demogod

            Well said

            • TrueRainbow

              I never said what I was intolerant of, but I’m intolerant of a lot of things: mosquitos, pornography, foul smells, human trafficking, genocide, forced abortions and sterilization, and lots of other things. If you go back and read my original post, I was addressing how the article defined the symbol of the rainbow, and the hypocrosy of those touting “tolerance” when they clearly didn’t understand the definition. I’m glad you are intolerant of others who disagree with you and I appreciate your honesty in stating so. I don’t think intolerance is a bad thing, unless it turns violent. It’s really how your intolerance guides your behavior. I happen to be an oppinionated person who enjoys these types of intellectual debates, but my children will grow up in a home where behavior and value do not go hand in hand, that a persons value is not determined by their behavior. So, I can teach my kids that it’s ok to have opinions that differ from others, and their value and the others’ who represent the other opinion have value as well.

          • spike

            I hope everyone reads your statement

    • Mr. M

      Thats a belief. Thats all. There are many beliefs. You clearly are pulling yours from a book that has been manipulated, changed, skewed and translated many times over hundreds of years. Not everyone follows that book either because there are many different books and belief systems just as there are many different opinions. Over all it’s the joy of freedoms of belief. I’m not challenging you in any way but more so stating an intelligent fact based on a deeper truth from a source (the Bible… a book of stories and poetry) of flimsy outdated information. But, still, you have your beliefs and you are entitled to them just as other people are. No one is going to challenge you. Peace.

      • Spike

        And you pray to your God with that mouth

    • Demogod

      What a loser, bible quotes show your pure stupidity.

      • Mr. M

        Actually, bible quotes doesn’t show “pure stupidity”. It just shows a lack of self-evolved critical thinking and also shows the possibility that the person has been programmed since a child into a religious belief system. The Bible as many other religious spiritual texts have many beautiful and loving things to say to help mankind. What is stupid are those who believe they need to be “religious enforcers” for those religious texts or rules. That is pure ego as well. It’s a control factor. It usually backfires other than giving the individual the quick fix of “I’m right and you are wrong.” It has an addictive aspect.

        • Gross!

          You mean self-evolved into the mess we have today? The ego lies with those who have decided they know better than God what is right and what is wrong.

          Where do many of our rules stem from? God’s word.

    • TrueRainbow

      “stupid”, and “dopey”. That is a brilliant and persuasive reply.

    • Joseph Rodela

      And Jesus said, “For judgement I am come into this world.” (John 9:39)
      “I came not to judge the world” (John 12:47)
      Please NEVER try to use historical non-secular text to display a point. There are already enough of your type mining morals for themselves, blind to the contradictions of 3rd century knowledge..

      • Mr. M

        JosephRodela… GOOD POINT!!! Agreed. Also… Jesus never condemned the gays.

    • Ezekiel 23:19-20

      Ezekiel 23:19-20
      Yet she increased her prostitution, remembering the days of her youth when she engaged in prostitution in the land of Egypt. She lusted after their genitals – as large as those of donkeys, and their seminal emission was as strong as that of stallions.

      • meow

        THAT IS HOT!!! … as large as donkeys? Hilarious

  • James2

    Hopefully this is the first use of the bridge lights to bring awareness to many causes. Nice that we got it going, We are a creative people. We see beauty when others don’t. We love even when others hate. We know why the caged bird sings. We have families too.

    • Mr. M

      Totally agreed. I hope they do PINK for beast cancer awareness and then maybe other lights for perhaps earth day or any other peaceful fundraising events. It’s a great idea that helps bring awareness of many good things in the city/state. I’m sure the rainbow will look fantastic!!! LED lights are the most cost saving… pennies a day to light.

  • Mr. M

    The city and state actually make money from the event.

    • KKKKlackers

      B as in B
      S as in S

      Like the Twins and Vikings all generate cash for the people right. ;-)
      Twist and spins – you a politician an per chance M ? lol

      • Mr. M

        It’s not a sporting event. It’s actually much much bigger than that but clearly you don’t know the facts. It is in fact a money maker for the state. There are hundreds of people from out of town an state that come for this event and stay at hotels, eat at the restaurants, use taxis or car rentals… the list goes on. Putting some colored LED (which if you did some more research you’d find cost pennies a day to light) isn’t going to cost much versus the massive amounds of money that the event makes for the state/city. LOL … no, not a polotician. Just a humble soul who does some basic research then thinks for himself. Peace.

  • stace34

    This is the one of the largest events of it’s kind in the midwest. The local businesses are making profits, taxes and fees are being collected. The state and others are making money off of the event. So before you go complaining about the money you should know the reall facts. Or doesn’t reality matter to you?

    • vuhruhto

      The award for father of the year goes to….not you.

      This is the largest public festival in the Twin Cities. If you think for one second that Minneapolis would turn down the revenue this brings in, you’re kidding yourself. No matter what your kid thinks about where the dudes junk goes. As if the straight version is some bed of roses.

    • Marcellus Wallace

      The planet is going to hell because of gays?

      I’d be more inclined to say the planet is going to hell because people still believe there’s a god in the sky and a devil in the ground, and that each are whispering into your ear about what kind of person to be. I mean dang, what a load!

      • Marcellus Wallace

        Please be more specific. Is this article about sex? I didn’t think it was. I thought it was about a celebration.

        Where are you finding the correlation to anal sex here?

        You may want to talk to a professional about your anal obsession.

      • Thumper

        Shut the flapper puddy…..you making the case for them being dead on right

      • Clint Make My Day banters


    • meow

      If hell is a big GAY PARADE and PARTY, then count me in. WOO HOO!!!

    • meow

      Wild Ride … you sure sound edge’uh’ma’kated, Um huh yup. Gee Golly.

  • meow

    PARTY WEEKEND!!! WOOOO HOOOOO!!! I love my gay friends. They are kind and peaceful, creative and caring wonderful human beings. Loving souls who help fill the world with beautiful joy and make this world a much much better place to live in times of terrorism and abuse, suppresion and intolerance. Super excited to see the bridge light up with the energy saving LED lights. Thank you WCCO for reporting on this fantastic event.

    • Mr. M

      The Nazis dehumanized the Jews. Look what happened.

      • Dubious Debbie

        We doing well thank you

  • Mr. M

    Nah… actually, it’s a peaceful event. No one is forcing anything onto anyone. Come on down to the park and walk around and see for yourself. Diversity in our society is a wonderful thing. If you don’t like it, simply don’t go. Oh and condoms are handed out by several booths, no need to open another booth, but if you want, go right ahead. You might have to pay the city a fee though for the booth. The city actually makes money on the event. It’s good for the MN economy. Peace.

  • Marcellus Wallace

    You don’t get to decide for me or anybody else what is “sick, sinful, or perverted.”

    You’re not qualified.

  • Bill

    “This is the largest public festival in the Twin Cities.”

    That is a lie.

    • stace34

      Then what is the largest public festival in the Twin Cities? You say this was a lie what is the truth?

      • Dave

        Well, there is that State Fair thing. Maybe he meant largest public festival to celebrate nothing. Since after all, being gay is not a choice, you’re born that way, so why not celebrate that for no reason! Wouldn’t it be great? Next year we should have an Air Breathing Festival, a Blinking Festival, and maybe even a Sneezing and Yawning Expo and a Motor Skills Gala! Wouldn’t it be the bestest!?

        • Breathing festival

          We’re going to need a bigger light bulb.

  • sickofreligiousbs

    I think it is great. we need fun happy news for once! They are lights people! Enjoy!

  • SnowFire

    There is only one, repeat one thing I don’t like – the fact that this organization has taken the rainbow from what it represented before. Find another symbol for your cause, let the rainbow go back to what it was before, that is all I ask. I can understand why it was chosen but hopefully I will never forget how I felt about it before it was associated with this organization. Maybe when your rights become equal you’ll let it go? I would like to live to see it, enjoy the event – peace!

    • Mr. M

      LOL … um … what did it represent before? Apple Computer? LMAO

  • rearend

    Wow i hit g instaed of h what an epic spelling error.

  • Pieter

    Eeew. Once I had poop in my nose and I couldn’t walk.

  • GH

    I could really care less about the pride thing, but what bothers me is that they are using something that was made in the remembrance of the people who died on that bridge. Go show your colors somewhere else. Those lights should never be changed. Leave the MEMORAL alone!!!

  • jan

    There are straight perverts and there are gay perverts. There are straight loving, caring, responsible couples and there are gay loving, caring, responsible couples. I wish people would not try to force their religious beliefs on other people. I am not gay but I respect gays’ rights as equal to non gays’ rights

    • meow

      Jan you ROCK … we need more people like you in the world.

  • Primetime Editorials
  • Marcellus Wallace

    Are you basing that on science, or just your own personal feeling that being gay is “icky?”

  • Jim

    I think it’s hilarious that people are quoting the bible as some sort of evidence that we should not be respectful of other people’s lifestyles. I have no interest in supernatural hocus pocus such as vampires, the bible, the Loch Ness monster, etc. It’s kind of fun to imagine Big Foot running around the forest or an invisible sky wizard floating on a cloud, but we shouldn’t shape public policy based on fiction.

  • meow

    STOP, you are making me HUNGRY !!! LOL

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