At Capital City Pride 2019, the largest showing in the festival’s history saw thousands gather on Capitol Way to celebrate love, equality and friendship.
Unlike larger city Pride festivals, Capital City has a distinctly Olympia feel. “It’s a weird intersection of the things like Love Our Local Fest and Procession of the Species, which have a very strong Olympia identity,” explains Capital City Pride Festival Co-Chair, Kai Abrahamson.
At Capital City Pride, people from many different walks of life donned flags and rainbow attire while they danced at the intersection of Capitol and Legion Way, while waiting for the parade to begin. Heart shaped stickers were handed out to young parade attendees and bubbles wafted throughout the summer air.
Even though the festival has grown more popular since its inception in 1991, organizers still try to cultivate a hometown, communal atmosphere where all attendees can feel comfortable and welcome.
“The queer community’s symbol is a rainbow,” says Abrahamson. “How much more diverse can you get? So, how to hold space for all those identities in one single day, I’m realizing it’s a lot more work than what I thought, but it’s beautiful.”
Many facets of the Thurston County community made an appearance during the Pride Parade with groups like Pizza Klatch, Stonewall Youth and the SPSCC Rainbow Alliance marching. Other companies and organizations that support the LGBT+ community also participated in the parade, including the Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater Fire Departments, Mud Bay, Puget Sound Energy and the Olympia Education Association.
At Pride, as members of the LGBT+ community congregated to reflect on the past, progress that has been made, and work that still needs to be done, downtown became a space to spend time with loved ones and feel the collective support of South Sound community members. “Right now, Pride is no longer just a social activist march for change. It’s also a celebration,” explains Abrahamson.