It was the parade that almost wasn’t, but this weekend Aurora residents will be able to celebrate their second annual Pride Parade thanks to a big fundraising push by members of the community.
The event, which was a huge success in its inaugural year of 2018, was briefly canceled in April due to increasing costs, but a fundraising drive led organizers to put it back on the schedule just a few days later.
That effort was led by Mayor Richard Irvin and concerned members of the community, and it raised nearly $20,000 in a single day to make sure that the parade would go on as scheduled.
“It wasn’t $5,000 from a single corporation. It was $5 here, $20 there,” Pride Parade Chairwoman Gwyn Ciesla said on the eve of the event.
The fundraiser was taken up after organizers revealed they were forced to cancel the fundraiser due to soaring costs. An ordinance passed by the Aurora City Council nearly quadrupled the cost to host a parade in the city due to organizers being responsible for security and other parade-related costs.
“We were planning on probably a doubling from last year’s price, which was reasonable given the security measures needed, but this year it went up a lot more than we thought,” Ciesla said.
After the announcement was made, Indivisible Aurora and Mayor Irvin’s office went to work. The City of Aurora made a $3,000 grant to organizers, and a GoFundMe page created by the Indivisible Aurora group raised nearly $18,000 in under 24 hours.
For Ciesla and the rest of the LGBTQ community in Aurora, the support they experienced in a time of need not only led to the second-annual parade, but also spoke volumes about the support that their community has experienced in Aurora.
“I think especially right now, we are under attack by so many things, it’s really good to know that there is support out there,” parade-goer Penelope Garcia said.
The parade will step off at noon on Sunday, and is open to everyone, according to organizers.