NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – An estimated 20,000 people are expected to attend the 28th annual Nashville Pride Festival throughout the weekend at Public Square Park.
Safety will be a top priority following the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando were 49 were killed.
Saturday’s festivities will begin with an Equality Walk through the city. Around 3,000 people were expected to participate, according to Phil Cobucci, President-Elect of Nashville Pride.
For the first time in the history of Nashville Pride, Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson gave the OK for officers to walk in uniform during the Equality Walk to show their stance on equality.
Metro Police Lieutenant David Leavitt will lead this year’s walk.
“I think we’ve come a long way when it comes to equality, and it just shows that the police department and the city as a whole supports this event,” said Leavitt.
After the nightclub shooting in Orlando, Metro police decided to increase their security presence at Nashville Pride.
According to Leavitt, the festival would usually be staffed by a private security firm, but this year Metro police assigned its officers to work the festival.
At any given time there will be between 12 to 20 additional officers in uniform patrolling the events.
Police said they are also revisiting safety plans for other big, public events planned in downtown Nashville this summer such as the annual Fourth of July celebration.
Gates opened at 10 a.m. at Public Square Park and the cost of admission is $5 dollars. Pop group En Vogue is scheduled to perform at 6 p.m.
The festival includes food vendors, children’s activities and live music.