Downtown Winnipeg was awash in rainbows Sunday but there wasn't a cloud or puddle in sight.

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This article was published 2/6/2013 (3159 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Downtown Winnipeg was awash in rainbows Sunday but there wasn't a cloud or puddle in sight.

Thousands of people descended upon the legislature for the 26th annual Pride parade, Winnipeg's highest-profile celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.

'We think it's important to be connected with the community.We are all about diversity, whether it's sexuality, profession or age'

And while some concerns were raised about the parade's logistics, you'd be hard-pressed to find an event with more energy, enthusiasm and joy.

Winnipeg's 26th annual Pride parade, celebrating the LGBT community, was awash with rainbow colours as marchers took to the streets Sunday.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg's 26th annual Pride parade, celebrating the LGBT community, was awash with rainbow colours as marchers took to the streets Sunday.

Oh, and creative outfits.

Brent Young and Bob Burgess were the definite focal point at the front of the parade. They were dressed in matching octopus costumes and wigs for their ninth--- and second-last -- parade.

"We're going to go out with a bang next year. We want to sit back and watch the parade. And we're old," Young said with a laugh.

Pride has come a long way since its inaugural event when paper bags were passed out to participants who didn't feel comfortable or safe showing their faces. Hundreds of parade-walkers incorporated the rainbow symbol into their socks, leggings, shorts, tank tops and even coats for their dogs.

The golden message Sunday was equality.

The golden message Sunday was equality.

"It's more accepted now. It's more of a parade and less of anything political," Burgess said.

But that didn't mean there weren't some politicians in attendance. Provincial cabinet minister Jim Rondeau and former MP, MLA and mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis were seen milling around the legislature's steps and Premier Greg Selinger addressed the throng before the parade began.

He said the LGBT community deserved to enjoy the event secure in the knowledge that his government will continue to press ahead with its anti-bullying legislation.

"We believe every Manitoban deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in their community. We all have a role to play and when we do that, we're all better off," he said.

The 26th Annual Pride Parade made its way through downtown Winnipeg, Sunday, June 2, 2013.

The 26th Annual Pride Parade made its way through downtown Winnipeg, Sunday, June 2, 2013.

Selinger said attending the Pride parade is no different than any of the countless other events he attends throughout the year.

"Everybody here is a Manitoban. They all need to be respected and they all need to feel safe," he said.

You couldn't help but feel safe walking anywhere near the contingent from the Winnipeg Roller Derby League. Spokeswoman Alex Krosney said the five-team league brought out 25 people, its largest-ever contingent for Pride.

"We think it's important to be connected with the community. We are all about diversity, whether it's sexuality, profession or age," said Krosney, who was one of several players roller skating the parade route and wearing knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet.

In what could be considered a sign of Pride's success, some participants felt the parade marshals had difficulty managing the sheer number of floats. Josh Kolesar said he thought the pace was too quick and the gaps between the floats, many of which were full of sign-carrying dancers, were too big.

"It was the fastest parade I've ever seen. There was half a parade behind us and we didn't even know it," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca