By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you take a walk or dive down Hennepin Avenue this week, it’s hard to miss the colors of the rainbow.

“It’s to signify Pride, and the gay community we support,” Marin Restaurant and Bar marketing director Jay Pierce said.

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Downtown businesses are gearing up for the country’s largest free Pride festival this weekend. While Pride organizers have always had security in place, this year will be a little different.

“Because of Orlando, many people feel the need to be reassured,” Twin Cities Pride director Dot Belstler said. “There’s more of a visible presence, so that’s what we’re doing this year.”

Minneapolis police will have more uniformed officers at Pride, as well as K-9 units, police on horses and bikes.

“Make sure that attendees feel safe without being overwhelmed by police presence,” Belstler said.

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Local restaurants will have extra security and police officers stationed inside during the parade — a first for Pride.

“We’re going to have a moment of silence for the Orlando victims, and there is security at every party,” Pierce said. “We’re taking it very seriously.”

Despite the fears and aftermath of Orlando, organizers are expecting an even bigger turnout than last year’s roughly half a million attendees.

“People need to come out and celebrate who they are and to remember the folks in Orlando,” Belstler said.

Minneapolis police will also be teaming up with Park police, Metro Transit police, and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department.

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For information on Pride events, click here.

Kate Raddatz