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Omaha residents celebrate the 2022 Heartland Pride Parade – RIVER COUNTRY

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Hundreds of people gathered in Omaha’s Old Market to celebrate the Heartland Pride Parade on Saturday morning.

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Photo courtesy of WOWT

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – It was a celebration of love and unity on Saturday morning during the annual Heartland Pride Parade.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Harney and Howard to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

“Just encourage them to be themselves, no matter what, always be your authentic self. Because you are loved,” one parade-goer said.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid, my mom took me here. I’m part of the community, I love this place, I love the environment and it’s such a safe place,” said another participant in the parade.

Hundreds of people gathered in the Old Market to celebrate.

“This year we have grown even more,” said Nikke Trahan-Ferris, Vice President of Heartland Pride. “We have 144 entries that we have never seen before. According to the police, it is the largest they have seen in this area.

This year’s theme is “Open Hearts, Open Minds”. Complete with floats and performers – it lacked neither color nor pride.

“I think it’s really cool to have the generation before us here and show us the ropes and what it means to be here and proud and they’ve really paved the way for people like us to exist.”

Downtown is still the relatively new home of Heartland Pride, having left Council Bluffs two years ago. Organizers say each year is getting bigger and bigger.

“We actually had to turn people away, which is very discouraging. So we are considering changing the route next year so we don’t have to turn people away, and they can all be part of us.

Many in the crowd say this is a place to feel safe.

“Every time we come here it’s like love,” said a passerby. “You don’t feel anything negative, it’s just love.”

Others said it was a place to be yourself.

“At one point people couldn’t come out and do that,” said another passerby. “So I just see it as a blessing that people can go out, be themselves, see other people be like them. It’s like you’re home.

After the parade, the festivities continued at the CHI Health Center with over 200 vendors and entertainment.

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