Crowds pack Downtown Knoxville for PrideFest

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Thousands of people packed Knoxville Saturday for PrideFest. They’re celebrating and showing their support for the LGBTQ community.

“It’s the greatest thing ever,” said Aaron Gibson.

“I couldn’t be happier honestly,” Sara Harris said.

“It’s an amazing group of people that want to share the love. I mean I think that’s what this is all about is love and not hate,” said Donald Rickels.

Knox PrideFest took over Mary Costa Plaza Saturday. Organizers calling it an open celebration of music, entertainment and speakers focused on promoting equality and inclusion of all people.

“In here I feel like I’m in a different world. There’s people like me, not even just gay people, just people who are straight and supportive,” said Dillon Nowatchik.

The day kicked off with a parade. People lined the streets – dancing and waving rainbow flags.

Some soggy weather rolled through mid-afternoon, but attendees say that didn’t dampen their spirits.

“We were stuck in the garage, so we decided to sing,” Rickels said.

Some people we met come to PrideFest year after year. Others are taking in the festivities for the first time.

Many doing so alongside groups of friends or family.

“They’re not the only kids that have two mommies. They feel included. There’s no one here that’s putting them down or us down,” said Lovonda Hall.

It’s clear this event is important and significant to a lot of the people here. One attendee is spreading a message close to many of their hearts.

“Love everybody. There’s no reason not to. This world is cruel now and we need more positivity,” Nowatchik said.

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