LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The first ever Pride Parade in Lafayette took place Saturday. The LGBTQ community strolled through the streets of downtown, celebrating love and unity.

“It’s only 8:42 on a Saturday, and Lafayette and everyone has turned out. I could almost cry with excitement,” Monet David with the Acadiana Queer Collective and Pride Acadiana Planning Committee said. She says pride is all about uplifting the voices of the LGBTQ community and celebrating love.

While it may just seem like a colorful parade to some, David says it’s really about empowering the LGBTQ community to be their true self without fear. “We want queer youth to see that you can go into adulthood, and it can be a fulfilling adulthood with community,” says David.

“It’s really cool because I didn’t realize there were this many people in Lafayette in the queer community. I love just seeing all of these people being proud,” Ben Hickson, who attended the parade, said.

The morning kicked off with the Pride Parade in downtown Lafayette, but the celebrations lasted all day. There was also a health and wellness expo, a film showcase, a silent auction, poetry readings, live bands, and many people’s personal favorite, drag queen story time.

Many who attended say it meant the world to feel loved and accepted by their community, and they’re thankful for Pride. “I guess it just means that you can feel comfortable and not caring what people who hate on you think and just being proud of who you are,” Hickson added.