By Rick Sallinger
(CBS4) – An estimated 350,000 people are expected to take part in this weekend’s Denver gay pride events, but this year they will be taking place against a somber backdrop.
Denver police are being proactive following Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, according to Christine Downs, a spokeswoman for the Denver Police Department.
“In light of the horrible events that took place in Orlando we are having an enhanced security for the events this weekend regarding PrideFest,” she said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Denver PrideFest 2015
Extra officers will be assigned and other undisclosed measures will be taken. The PrideFest parade and festival at Civic Center Park will have seven gates with bag checks at each. Coolers and backpacks are being discouraged.
Bars like The Wrangler on East Colfax have announced they are taking extra security steps with additional off-duty police, military police and bag searches.
Officials at the GLBT Community Center in Denver says cancellation of PrideFest was never an option.
“We’re not going to let this tragedy scare us back into the closet. We are going to go out and make this a great celebration,” spokesman Rex Fuller said.
Fuller says this weekend he is expecting an even bigger crowd than before with people showing their solidarity.