Rainy, but not gloomy, Spokane Pride Parade draws a crowd in spite of the weather

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Marchers parade down Spokane Falls Boulevard on Saturday, June 9. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Marchers parade down Spokane Falls Boulevard on Saturday, June 9.

The weather was trash, I was running late and, to be honest, I didn’t expect to see a soul at the Spokane Pride Parade on Saturday, June 9.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I'm a recent transplant to this area. Before I moved from the cozy confines of Western Washington, everyone warned me about what to expect. Well, once again, Spokane has proven the haters wrong.

Thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday afternoon, seemingly in spite of the crappy weather. Bright and bold fashion choices beamed under a gloomy sky — somewhat of a metaphor for the mood of the 26th annual parade.

Holding a sign at the parade that read “Isn’t Hate A Sin?” local artist Rose Shankman says this is just one of eight demonstrations she’s participated in since 2017.

“I have a lot of angst since 'you-know-who' got into the White House, and I have to do something as positive as I can,” she says.

The feeling was echoed by others at the parade, including National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning, who was OutSpokane’s recipient of the inaugural Stonewall Impact Award.

“I think we can agree that we are in the middle of tough times. There are people with negative opinions and feelings who are feeling emboldened ... and that’s why it is right for us to stand up and fight for what is good,” she told the crowd gathered in Riverfront Park on Saturday.

Present near the end of the parade were protesters with a loud speaker and and signs condemning the event. However, they were nearly completely blocked from view by a handful of attendees dressed as angels with large wings, meant to obscure any insulting signs.

Omnika Merkly (right) blocks anti-gay protestors from view of the Spokane Pride Parade on Saturday, June 9. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Omnika Merkly (right) blocks anti-gay protestors from view of the Spokane Pride Parade on Saturday, June 9.

Find more photos of the event below:

Marchers parade down Spokane Falls Boulevard on Saturday, June 9. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Marchers parade down Spokane Falls Boulevard on Saturday, June 9.

Rose Shankman displays her sign at the parade. On the other side it reads "Let 'Em Eat Cake," a reference to a recent Supreme Court decision. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Rose Shankman displays her sign at the parade. On the other side it reads "Let 'Em Eat Cake," a reference to a recent Supreme Court decision.

A crowd gathers after the parade in Riverfront Park. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • A crowd gathers after the parade in Riverfront Park.

Caitlyn Keogh towers above the crowd on stilts with local performing arts group Vertical Limits. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Caitlyn Keogh towers above the crowd on stilts with local performing arts group Vertical Limits.

Mandy Manning, National Teacher of the Year and OutSpokane’s recipient of the inaugural Stonewall Impact Award, gives a short speech before to the crowd. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Mandy Manning, National Teacher of the Year and OutSpokane’s recipient of the inaugural Stonewall Impact Award, gives a short speech before to the crowd.

Marchers parade down Spokane Falls Boulevard on Saturday, June 9. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Marchers parade down Spokane Falls Boulevard on Saturday, June 9.

Jason Komm, repping some nYne gear and a... uhhhh... a suit? - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Jason Komm, repping some nYne gear and a... uhhhh... a suit?

Musicians perform in the rainy day parade. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Musicians perform in the rainy day parade.