Organizers ready for first gay pride event in Beaumont - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Organizers ready for first gay pride event in Beaumont

The stage is set. Rainbow colored flags adorn the light poles up and down Orleans Street in Beaumont.

Signs in store windows advertise Beaumont Pride 2014, the city's first ever gay pride event, set to kick off Saturday morning.    

"We've been meeting over the last 6 months to organize this. We're all very excited,” said Beaumont Pride co-organizer Shawn Hare.

“What you see on the television about pride in San Francisco or places like that is probably going be slightly different from what we have," said co-organizer Jacqueline Hays.

There's no elaborate parade with floats planned, but rather a pride walk starting at 11 a.m. at the corner of MLK and Broadway Street. It’s open to the public, and participants are asked to get there at 10:30 to check in. People are encouraged to carpool as there may be limited parking downtown.

Marchers will make their way down Broadway to the block of Orleans between Fannin Street and Forsythe Street. The 600 block of Orleans will be blocked off until 9 p.m. Hundreds are expected to pack the street to celebrate.

“People just wanting to come out because they've never been to a pride and they don't want to travel to big cities," said Hays.

There will be food vendors, street performers, local artists and live music as people celebrate their sexual orientation. Organizers know it's a controversial event, and say they won't be surprised if protestors show up with signs.
“But we’re not expecting anybody to be overly hateful," said Hays.

“We know everyone has their own opinion and they're entitled to that, but we are going to move forward with Pride as scheduled," said Hare.

At least 8 police officers will be working to keep everyone safe at what some are calling a historic event for Southeast Texas.

Aside from the festivities on Orleans, there will be live theatrical performances at The Gig on Crockett Street starting at 6 p.m. and at The Art Studio, Inc. on Franklin Street throughout the day.

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