People donned flags and accessories of all colors during the Pride March in downtown Soldotna on Saturday.
The group, which spanned the length of about five blocks, marched from the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex to Soldotna Creek Park, waving and cheering as cars honked their horns in support.
Many participants walked with their LGBTQ friends, family members and allies in support of the community.
Leslie Byrd, who works with the LGBT Alliance at Kenai Peninsula College, and Audré Hickey planned the event.
Kat Banner, who uses they/them pronouns, said they collaborated with organizers of the Soldotna Pride March. Their team members coordinated a group to attend Saturday’s event from Anchorage.
“For me, Pride means a celebration of love and community,” Banner said. “Being in a collective space to share identities, it means so much to me.”
They are also involved in Choosing Our Roots, a grassroots organization that aims to provide stable housing to LGBTQ youth and young adults.
“We are a youth-driven program and we are here to really be a support for the community … and provide them a safe and affirming home.”
Choosing Their Roots currently does work locally on the Kenai Peninsula, in the Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna areas and they are going to start outreach in Bethel.
Also in attendance was Amy Kelley, a youth board member at Choosing Our Roots.
She said this was her first peninsula Pride event.
“I’ve lived in Anchorage for about five years now,” Kelley said. “I am happily surprised … I think I was expecting maybe like a two-block-long line and we got a five-block-long line.”
To her, Pride is self-explanatory.
“It means that, it means having pride in who I am and showing off that I’m not afraid to be out in the open,” Kelley said.
Byrd and the LGBT Alliance at KPC can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: This story has been updated with additional information and corrected to reflect the organizers of the event.