SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls’ LGBTQA+ community will make history with the city’s first ever pride parade. KELOLAND News broke the story today on KELOLAND.com. The parade will be the kick-off to Sioux Falls Pride’s park festival in June. Organizers say this parade has been decades in the making, and Downtown Sioux Falls Inc. says the event will be a win for business owners.
Rain clouds hovered over Downtown Sioux Falls on Wednesday when Sioux Falls Pride announced its first parade. It’s undoubtedly hard to picture a parade on a stormy day like that.
“We’re hoping for sunshine,” Cody Ingle, Pride committee member, said.
Once you look past the rain, Sioux Falls Pride hopes you see a rainbow.
“We really want Phillips, from beginning to end, lined with floats and walking groups,” Ingle said.
The route itself is a just few blocks, but creating Sioux Falls’ first pride parade is a much longer journey. Ingle says Sioux Falls Pride has spent close to a year filling out paperwork and working with the City of Sioux Falls and Downtown Sioux Falls Inc. to make it happen.
“I know what it feels like to feel like you have to hide yourself. Being able to be a part of something where people can come and freely express who they are is going to be really emotional,” Ingle said.
The annual pride festival in the park has grown over the years, with last year’s attendance estimated at 10,000 people. Pride President Quinn Kathner says a parade is the natural next step, but says it didn’t happen overnight.
“This is a victory for everyone. We couldn’t have been to this point without the hard work and dedication of previous years,” Kathner said.
DTSF Communication Coordinator Sadie Swier says introducing a new parade is also a big win for businesses because these events bring in more customers.
“I think everybody here is very supportive of being inclusive and just being able to have everybody feel like they belong to the downtown community,” Swier said.
There have been several stormy days. It can be tough to picture progress, but Kathner and Ingle say this parade represents a bright spot for the LGBTQA+ community.
“Other cities such as Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver and Omaha all have pride festivals within that they have pride parades. We were in due time for it,” Kathner said.
“It just is reaffirming and reassuring we don’t have to hide who we are and no matter what there are people who have to support you,” Ingle said.
Sioux Falls Pride says it went through all of the proper channels any other organization would go through to get a parade downtown. It begins June 15 at 10 a.m. and the festival at Terrace Park will follow.
To learn more about the events, and how to register for a float, you can visit Sioux Falls Pride’s website.