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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Pride Festival takes place in downtown Salt Lake City this weekend. Members and supporters of the gay community say with the passage of new anti-discrimination laws, there is much to celebrate.
Many volunteers have been working all day on the grounds of the City and County Building, setting up. They are expecting 20,000 attendees during the two-day festival.
Members of the LGBTQ community say they are celebrating with both a look back and a move ahead.
The grounds of the City and County Building are taking on a lot of color. Organizers say this year's Pride Festival will be full of celebrations -- certainly about growth.
Everyone is familiar with the annual parade, which has grown over the years to include more family members and friends of gays, lesbians and transgendered Utahns.
This year's parade takes place Sunday morning at 10 a.m. It will follow a familiar route, starting at 300 South State, going east on 100 South to 200 East, then south to 300 South.
But after years of working with government, community and religious leaders, members of the Salt Lake City Council voted to pass ordinances last November protecting the LGBTQ community from employment and housing discrimination.
West Valley City, Ogden, Logan and Park City have followed.
Community leaders and families are having these conversations and dispelling some of the myths and stereotypes that exist, and we're recognizing as a state that these are the right things to do.
–Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center
"Community leaders and families are having these conversations and dispelling some of the myths and stereotypes that exist, and we're recognizing as a state that these are the right things to do," said Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center.
The motto of Utah Pride 2010 is "Our History, Our Future." Members are looking back 40 years to the Stonewall riots against a police raid on a bar in New York City's Greenwich Village. For the first time, the homosexual community fought back. They say it was a beginning of the gay rights movement.
"We stand on the shoulders of people who have been through many things in their life as we work toward love and acceptance in the state of Utah," Larabee said. "We think it's important to pay homage to these folks."
And, Larabee says, this year's festival will help them thank the young people who are working hard to reach out and find community acceptance.
The Grand Marshal Reception takes place Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center on North Medical Drive.