Omaha residents celebrate 2022 Heartland Pride Parade

Hundreds gathered to celebrate the return of the Heartland Pride Parade
Published: Jul. 16, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It was a celebration of love and unity Saturday morning during the annual Heartland Pride Parade.

Hundreds 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,” said one parade-goer.

“I have been coming to this since I was a little kid, my mom has taken me here. I’m part of the community, I love it here, I love the environment and it’s such a safe place to be,” another parade-goer said.

Hundreds gathered in the Old Market to celebrate.

“This year we grew even bigger,” said Nikke Trahan-Ferris, the Vice President of Heartland Pride. “We have 144 entries which we’ve never seen before. According to police, that’s the biggest they’ve seen in this area.”

This year’s theme is “Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Complete with floats and performers– there was no shortage of color or pride.

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

Downtown is still the relatively new home for Heartland Pride, after moving over from Council Bluffs two years ago. Organizers say every year gets bigger and bigger.

“We actually had to turn people away, which is very disheartening. So we’re looking at 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 it’s a place to feel safe.

“Every time we come out here it just feels like love,” one bystander said. “You don’t feel anything negative it’s just love.”

Others said it’s a place to be yourself.

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

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

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