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Four Corners Gay Pride Festival starts tonight

More than 1,200 expected to be in attendance

Attendees will have some notable achievements to celebrate at the fourth annual Four Corners Pride Festival, which will be held today through Saturday in Durango to coincide with the internationally recognized Pride Month.

Colorado became the latest state to allow civil unions this year, and it became the third state to legislate against insurance companies’ discrimination of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender medical patients.

The festival is organized by 4cGLAD – Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity. Its mission with the festival is to bring together the LGBTQ community with straight allies to raise awareness throughout the community, said Barbara Balaguer Blundell, board president of 4cGLAD.

This year, 4cGLAD anticipates more than 1,200 guests as the event continues to grow, Balaguer Blundell said.

Eighty percent of attendees will come from the Four Corners. But many will travel from as far as Alaska and Illinois, she said.

The festival not only connects people, but gives visitors an opportunity to support local businesses and Durango’s tourism industry, Balaguer Blundell said.

Events begin at 6 tonight when Durango Discovery Museum will host a screening of the documentary “Love Free or Die.” A panel discussion will follow. Thursday will include a reception at the Rochester Hotel, and Friday’s highlight will be a dance party at the Elks Lodge.

The Animas River will be home to festival-goers Saturday for the second annual Float Parade, beginning at 32nd Street and ending at Rotary Park. Floaters are asked to show their pride by decorating rafts and tubes, and even themselves, Balaguer Blundell said.

Most large cities have a parade, and because Durango has a river, 4cGLAD decided to start the pride Float Parade, a decision that was well-received by everyone, Balaguer Blundell said.

The Pride Festival Family and Friends Picnic, which will be held at Rotary Park after the parade, is the main event. Durango Mayor Dick White will be the highlight speaker. Food tents, information and support booths, and a beer garden featuring Carver Brewing Co. will all be set up, she Balaguer Blundell.

egriffin@durangoherald.com

Schedule of events

Today

Free Screening of “Love Free or Die,” 6 p.m. at Durango Discovery Museum. Free. This documentary film is about one man’s struggle between his love for God and his identity as a homosexual male.

Thursday

Cocktail reception, 5-7:30 p.m., The Rochester Hotel’s Secret Garden. No cost, but donations will be accepted. The newest Pride event will feature hors d’ouevres from Hot Tomatoes, a signature Pride 2013 vodka cocktail and music by Ace Revel, and Hello, Dollface. Cash bar only.

Friday

Pride Festival Dance Party, 8:30 p.m., Elks Lodge, 901 East Second Ave. 18 and older only. Cost: $10, tickets available at Maria’s Bookshop and Animas Trading Co. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

Saturday

Second annual Animas River Float Parade, 10:30 a.m. Put-in at 32nd Street; take-out at Rotary Park. Free. Decorate yourself, a raft, a boat or a tube to show pride while floating down the river.

Pride Festival Family and Friends Picnic, noon-5 p.m., Rotary Park. Free. A celebration with a Carver Brewing Co. beer garden, DJ, astrology readings, information booths and more.

After-Party Party, 5 p.m., Lost Dog Bar & Lounge, 1150 Main Ave. Dinner and drinks to celebrate the Pride Festival and Pride Month.

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