EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) We are three days into Pride month, a season intended to celebrate the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ communities. This year, Evansville marked a milestone with its largest Pride parade and festival ever.

“It is huge, and with the turnout, we could not be happier,” says Ashley Riester, the president of River City Pride.

In the past, the organization held the parade and festival at Haynie’s Corner. Riester says they outgrew that space and moved to Main Street this year. Hundreds of people flooded the street to watch performances and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

“I think everyone should be accepted,” says Adam Caplan, who moved to Evansville from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This was Caplan’s first year going to the Pride parade and festival in Evansville and says he never experienced anything like this when living in Pennsylvania.

“Just to see how many people come out here and support this, when generally the politics do not lean this way. It is giving me faith in the fact that this is a place where I can live and have a live here,” Caplan says.

The festival not only drew in people, but it also brought in furry friends to.

“People are used to seeing puppies, but when they see a pig, they really go crazy,” says J.J. Howley, who owns Ted, the therapy pig.

Ted has become quite popular in downtown Evansville. Last year, he was known as ‘The Pride Pig.’ Howley decided to bring Ted again this year.

“People are not always accepting, but Ted is accepting of everyone. If we can make anybody’s day better, then we are making everyone’s day better,” Howley says.

This month is the 54th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a series of protests over a violent police raid in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York. It is known as the Gay Liberation and fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Riester says a lot of progress has been made since then, but adds there is still work that needs to be done.

“With the legislation coming out to inhibit others, I think that it is really important for us to celebrate and be represented. We want E to be for Everyone. If that is going to be our city brand, then we want to make sure we are all represented,” Riester says.