With thousands of rainbow flags flying, Portland’s Pride parade traversed the city’s downtown streets Saturday – and participants danced, strutted, waved, drove motorcycles, and even roller-skated and rode unicycles by the crowd.

The parade featured full sun, temperatures in the 70s and a light breeze. With ideal weather conditions, thousands packed the sidewalks so densely that some parade watchers stood on tables behind the throng to get a better view. The parade started in Monument Square, went down Congress Street, turned down High Street and headed to Deering Oaks for the Pride festival.

Signs of “Welcoming” and “Diverse” were on display, as the parade celebrated LGBTQ+ civil rights and simply the idea of being accepted. Maine voters approved same-sex marriage in a 2012 ballot initiative, three years before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay nuptials nationwide.

Alexis Passuro, 24, of Portland, said she was attending her first Pride parade on Saturday, and she found it inspiring and fun.

“This is fantastic,” Passuro said. “It’s like a big party. It’s good that people can celebrate who they are.”

Portland’s Pride parade started in 1987 but missed two years because of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. June is Pride Month, and there are events celebrating Pride across much of the state.


Parade watcher Juniper Rhodes got into the spirit by wearing a full-length rainbow flag as a cape. She said it’s a good feeling to be represented as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Despite Maine’s reputation as being welcoming of diversity, Rhodes said there’s still a lot of misunderstandings, such as the false belief that the LGBTQ+ community is “indoctrinating” people.

“I’m just trying to live my life,” Rhodes said.

Marchers wore many different types of colorful costumes, from drag kings and queens to butterfly wings, anime characters and even a medieval knight.

The Maine Gay Men’s Chorus danced a choreographed routine, while members of the Dykes on Bikes motorcycle group revved their engines to start the parade. Other groups marching included Maine Roller Derby, PortConMaine, Lewiston Strong, ACLU of Maine, Planned Parenthood, Queer Trades Maine and numerous others.

Cinnamon Brulee and Kristopher Kleva watched the parade together, and both said they enjoyed the spirit of camaraderie and acceptance that the parade represents.

“I think this is just wonderful,” Kleva said.

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