OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — This year’s Heartland Pride Parade in the Old Market drew thousands out to celebrate Saturday morning.
"It’s just a place for everybody to come together in our community and spread joy and happiness," said Samuel Parnell, parade chair.
Parnell said the theme for the parade this year was "open hearts and open minds."
"We want everybody to have an open heart and an open mind about not only our community but all the communities," Parnell said.
Organizers and spectators said the sense of community the parade provides is invaluable.
"It’s hard to see other people in the LGBTQIA+ community around like just every day," said Alyssa Bavar, a spectator. "It's really cool to come here and actually feel like part of the community and see the support from everyone."
Not everyone came to celebrate, organizers were aware of a small number of protests and anti-LGBTQ messages. Parnell said security was tight.
Still, the rhetoric was why spectators felt the atmosphere of support the pride parade provides is so important.
"So many people don’t have that in their lives," said Molly Seymour, a spectator. "We need that support."
Organizers wanted to send a message of inclusion and love for everyone in our community.
"With everything going on in the world right now, today’s a good day!" Seymour said.
Parnell said the parade saw a record number of attendees this year. KMTV was a proud sponsor.
See the full parade below: