MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — No amount of gray and gloom in the sky could silence the colorful celebration energizing the streets of Minneapolis. And the few drops of rain the fell sure weren’t going to put a damper on this parade.

“When I say happy, you say pride,” shouted Mayor Jacob Frey as he riled up those along the route for the Twin Cities Pride Parade.

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“It’s just supporting one another and putting differences aside and just enjoying yourself,” onlooker Jason Allen said.

This year’s parade honored the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City. The riots are said to have kick started the LGBTQ rights movement and the annual June display of pride.

“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” parade-goer Jamie Leither said. “I look up to them as like, the fact that they were willing to stand up for what they believed in and to fight for our rights.”

Construction on Hennepin Avenue forced the parade to venture down 2nd Avenue, a new backdrop some attendees embraced.

Allen and his fiancé visited the Hen House restaurant, which– thanks to its location– happened to be one of the few places to eat along the new route. The couple enjoyed their meal and drinks on a table outside.

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“Love it. I’ve got great food, great ambiance, people walking up and down the street, it’s phenomenal,” Allen said.

Although the route changed, the event’s message stayed the same.

“Where I live currently, it’s not as socially acceptable to be out in the public. So being down here, I get to express myself and be who I am,” said Leither, who now lives in North Dakota.

The festival provides an atmosphere that embraces everyone while allowing people to take pride in who they are.

“All I’ve felt is been welcomed, loved,” Leither said of his experience at the festival and parade.

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“It’s all about making sure everybody has an opportunity to love who they want to love,” added Allen.

Jeff Wagner