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Thousands gather for Seattle's Pride Fest

SEATTLE - Colors of pride were on fully display in downtown Seattle on Sunday as thousands gathered for the annual gay pride celebrations after much speculation in the past months as to whether the event would be held at all.

"It's always good to come out and celebrate pride and to see so many people turning out to really lend support," said Gylan Green, a participant.

The event was in jeopardy as recent as just two months ago, when parade organizer Seattle Out and Proud threatened to file for bankruptcy, citing a $100,000 debt to the city. Last year's celebrations at the Seattle Center drew big crowds, but created a big financial hole.

But the group defied doubters by reorganizing the event. Instead of a three-day celebration, the group organized a one-day gathering at the Seattle Center.

"We did have some really rocky road, but we've been able to produce what already seems like a very successful event," said Nick D. of Seattle Out and Proud.

Not everyone in the city's gay community has embraced that success. The city's Capitol Hill neighborhood has hosted pride celebrations for decades before they were moved downtown last year. Loyal followers argue Capitol Hill is the only place they belong.

"I think there was a very big divide last year, but the fact is, we've moved past it and we're moving forward," said Mark DuBois, a participant.

There are now two separate parades in two separate communities. The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center sponsored a Pride March down Capitol Hill's Broadway Avenue on Saturday. Then on Sunday,Seattle Out and Proud hosted its parade in downtown seattle with festivities at the Seattle Center.

"They both have value," said Green. "Something on broadway that's more community driven and celebratory, something downtown that's more politically driven and more of a message and I think there's room for both."

"We're again here, this year, downtown and we hope to have it next year downtown," said Tammy Rein-Ledbetter, a parade supporter.

The future of Pride Fest at the Seattle Center is still up in the air. The LGBT Center says it plans to hold the Capitol Hill event again next year, but says it may consider scaling back the event if the downtown celebrations grow larger.





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