ASHLAND, Ore. -- The Lotus Rising Project hosted southern Oregon’s annual Rogue Valley Pride Parade and Celebration in Ashland Saturday afternoon. Organizers said a few thousand people lined up for blocks to see the parade making 2018 the biggest celebration yet.
“It's just a big part of my life and I enjoy being around people like me," said attendee Toren McKnight.
"it's a celebration of freedom and acceptance. I absolutely love it," added Todd Lawver.
"Like a sense of community and feel like I'm not alone," Sam Gordon-Bloomfield said.
Every color of the LGBTQ pride flag lined East Main Street in Ashland for this year's Pride Parade. For many this parade and celebration means more than just colorful floats, it means acceptance.
"Where I'm originally from it's not very--you're not really accepted for being a part of the LGBTQ community so coming here and being myself and not be judged by other people, like a sense of community,” Gordon-Bloomfield said.
"It's good to know that there are other people around that I can identify with," added his friend McKnight.
A few thousand people came to show their support for the LGBTQ community here in southern Oregon.
"It puts southern Oregon on the map in terms of pride celebrations. I think ours just in terms of what we can do and what we have rivals that of LA pride or Portland Pride. It puts us on the map nationally in terms of the LGBT community," said the celebration’s organizer and Board Member for the Lotus Rising Project Evan Gaudry.
From the rainbow flags down to the signs and the face paint, everyone NewsWatch 12 spoke to felt supported.
"So much happiness and love and positivity comes out of these events. You can't help but walk away feeling happy," Lawver said.
You can watch the full story on NewsWatch 12 at 11pm Saturday.