IMAGES | Thousands march down Main Street to kick off 'Pride' we - WDRB 41 Louisville News

IMAGES | Thousands march down Main Street to kick off 'Pride' weekend

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- From immaculate attire to detailed floats, thousands gathered in downtown Louisville on Friday night for the Kentuckiana Pride Festival and Parade.

"People are always happy," said Sean Ridgeway, who marched in the parade down Main Street. "They're excited. You never know what they're gonna do, and the outfits ... people dress up crazy, and It's really fun to see."

The Kentuckiana Pride Foundation said the festival that runs through Sunday and draws about 18,000 people.

"I was not around for the very first one. I came in the second year," said Rodney Coffman, President of the Kentuckiana Pride Foundation. "My understanding is they were selling things it was like a picnic sort of thing, and it has grown over the year. We're talking from a few hundred to 18,000."

That growth has brought in major support from big companies like KFC and Kroger, both of which marched in the event.

"It's the best way for us to bring awareness to our community -- to see the amount of love and support from the individuals and the companies walking and showing solidarity in the community," said Meg Hancock, who marched in the parade.

IMAGES | 2017 Kentuckiana Pride Parade

Grand Marshal Brian Buford has seen the parade grow from its humble beginnings.

"I think people are more aware people ... know someone now in their life who is LGBT," Buford said. "My first pride parade, I remember was in the early '90s, and it was so small then that we walked on the sidewalk. We didn't have a permit for the street ... And we stopped at the stop light, so that's how little the pride parade was then, and then you look at it now, and you're like, 'Oh my goodness!'"

Organizers hope the event shows the LGBT community the support from many in the city.

"This is a celebration that's also a symbol out to those kids to say there's a place for you," Buford said. "There's a community that you belong to, and so that's who I hope we reach."

Event organizers are expecting the crowds to be even bigger on Saturday.

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