PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Thousands are expected to descend into the capital city this weekend for Rhode Island’s 41st Pride Festival and spectators can expect increased security.
75,000 people are expected to descend upon Rhode Island for the 41st annual Rhode Island Pride Festival. The turnout is expected to be the largest ever for the event, and that adds complications when it comes to security. Providence police, fire, and EMTs will be on hand as well as private security, but police are still asking for the public’s help.
“We have no concerns about security issues. We will be there doing what we can and we ask the people that come to participate to be our eyes and ears if they see something out of the ordinary,” said Public Safety Commissioner, Steven Pare.
This is not the first time the parade has amped up its security plans. In fact, law enforcement was increased last year after the Pulse Night Club attack. However, Pride President Davide Gnoato says the response from the community was heartwarming.
“Instead of giving in to fear and staying home everyone decided to rally together as a community and it was absolutely beautiful,” said Gnoato.
During this year’s festivities, pride ambassadors will also be posted throughout the city helping guests find their way and also keeping an eye out for any potential issues.
“They’re out not only to help random festival goers navigate where they’re going but also to keep an eye out for anything that could potentially be suspicious. We want to make sure everyone feels safe but it's a festival so we want to make sure everyone is happy,” said Gnoato.
PrideFest kicks off Saturday at noon on South Water Street and the illuminated night parade steps off at 8 p.m. in downtown.