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About 1,500 attend gay pride festival

Story updated at 3:15 p.m. Saturday 

SALISBURY — Overall Salisbury’s second annual gay pride festival has gone off without a hitch. 

Thompson estimates about 1,500 people have flowed in and out of the closed off parking lot at the corner of Lee and Fisher streets. 

Only about eight protestors showed up. That’s way down from the nearly 200 who were outside of the event last year. 

Sailsbury Deputy Chief Steve Whitley has been watching over the event from the top of an emergency vehicle. 

“It’s been very peaceful,” he said. “We are watching for trouble, but we haven’t seen much.”

Whitley said two protesters who ventured into the festival were asked to leave. They did so without resistance. 

“It’s really been great from a police standpoint,” he said. “Everyone has been well-behaved regardless of their opinion.”

Whitley said that wasn’t always the case last year. 

“There were some excited moments,” he said. 

There was only one ticket issued during last year’s festival. It came after a 74-year-old woman, who came to support the event, kissed a street preacher on the mouth. 

So far, there’s only been one arrest during Salisbury’s second annual gay pride event. 

Timothy Kirkley, who is facing drug charges, has been taken to the Salisbury Police Station to be booked. 

Capt. Melonie Thompson said police took notice of Kirkley when they realized he was walking in and out of the event. 

“We felt he was being suspicious in nature,” she said. 

Police followed him out of the festival where they patted him down and found an unknown substance. 

Check out Sunday’s Post for more details on that arrest. 

Read more about this year’s Salisbury Pride event in Sunday’s Post. 

Original story 

SALISBURY — Salisbury’s second annual gay pride event will kick off at 11 a.m. today despite Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson’s decision not to proclaim today as Pride Day for gays and lesbians. 

The inaugural Salisbury Pride was held on a public street, but this year’s festival has been moved to a private parking lot owned by Wallace Properties at 110 S. Lee St. due to safety concerns voiced by Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins.

The festival will include arts and crafts displays, music and entertainment, food, games for children and more. 

“Generations of Pride” speakers will take the stage at about 12:45 p.m. They include: Megan Braun, 14, a student at North Rowan High School and the reigning Elite Miss North Carolina’s Queen of Queens; Jen Jones, the first communication director of Equality North Carolina; and Mike Clawson, state coordinator of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and founder of the Salisbury/Rowan chapter of PFLAG. 

The 2011 Salisbury Pride event attracted more than 2,000 participants and some 200 protesters, according to police estimates. 

There was only one ticket issued during last year’s festival. It came after a 74-year-old woman, who came to support the event, kissed a street preacher on the mouth. 

Follow reporter Sarah Campbell on Twitter at twitter.com/posteducation for updates on the event and join the conversation by using hashtag #SalisburyPride


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