Some of the best ideas are born out of difficult circumstances. The start of the pandemic presented many challenges, including figuring out how our community would continue to celebrate together. Despite the limitations at the time, the ingenuity of a few community members created what we now know today as the Edgewater Pride Parade.
Like so many events in 2020, the Denver PrideFest had to go virtual. This disappointing news was the topic of a socially distanced, front-yard gathering of neighbors on Harlan Street. Inspired by the drive-by car parades that celebrated birthdays, graduations and other special events during quarantine, they came up with the idea of a pride parade in Edgewater.
Organizers were met with enthusiasm and excitement across the city, and planning went off without a hitch. City staff was eager to help organize a safe community event and assisted the volunteers with permitting, while the Edgewater Police Department coordinated safety.
What was unexpected was the media attention. After a local news station reported the story, people from across the metro area and as far away as Colorado Springs came to participate in one of the only in-person pride celebrations in the state that year.
The Edgewater Pride Parade was truly a highlight of the summer in 2020. Cars, bikers, floats, city vehicles and others paraded through the streets while onlookers cheered, danced and played music. Jude Gassaway was selected as the first Grand Marshal, honoring an LGBTQ+ leader in our community. I remember cheering as the cars went by with my young daughter, who was waving a flag in her first parade. The event was so successful that organizers decided to make it an annual tradition.
This year’s parade will be bigger than ever. Organizers are expecting more floats, more support from local businesses, and more spectators. The parade will take place June 11 at 10:30 a.m., starting at Edgewater Elementary School and ending at Edgewater Public Market, where the celebration will continue.
It is remarkable to think how far this event and we as a community have come since 2020. I hope you will join us in the unique way Edgewater honors our LGBTQ+ community members and celebrates pride.
Special thanks to Harlan Street resident Marla Doughty, a founding member of the Edgewater Pride Parade, and Kalah Hardt, City of Edgewater’s Communications & Events Director, for their leadership in organizing the parade and helping with this article.
Contact Edgewater Mayor John Beltrone at JBeltrone@EdgewaterCO.com or 720-643-6077.