By Matt Kroschel

SALIDA, Colo. (CBS4)– When you drive into this small mountain town, you will see a giant heart in lights on the mountain overlooking downtown, the heart of the valley. This weekend expect to see lots of rainbows, too.

The second annual Ark Valley Pride week begins on Tuesday and includes a pride parade down F Street in Salida on Saturday.

File photo of a person waving a rainbow flag. (Photo by PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/GettyImages)

(Photo by PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/GettyImages)

Organizer Jimmy Sellars says they did not expect the hundreds of people who showed up last year for the first ever pride in Chaffee County. This year they expect even more.
Local businesses coming together to make sure the event remains free for the family with a picnic and free music in the park.

Reporter Matt Kroschel will be one of the guest speakers on the main stage in Riverside Park Saturday afternoon sharing his personal LGBTQ journey since graduating from Salida High School in 2007.

(credit: Ark Valley Pride)

In the year since the first event was held, Sellars says the local group who organized the event has helped create three local gay-straight alliance groups in local schools, founded a support group for parents with lgbtq youth, created “Safe Zones” where youth can find resources and are handling all the LGBTQ support programming in the area.

LINK: Ark Valley Pride

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.