HOUSTON – More than 250,000 people are expected to show up for the 2017 Houston Pride Festival and Parade downtown.
“All the colors, all the people; I love seeing all the people,” explained an excited Sabrina Campos, who said this will be her first time attending.
The events start at noon.
Admission is free and is open to the public.
The festival is near Houston City Hall downtown.
Country singer LeAnn Rimes is one of the festival headliners.
The Houston Pride Parade starts at 8:30 p.m. at Smith and Lamar.
This year’s theme is Wonderland.
It was supposed to be a surprise, but leading the parade will be a Houston Police Department squad car with temporary rainbow decals.
A picture of the car, which has "Pride Equality and Peace" on the side in rainbow colors, appeared in Out Smart Magazine.
Some claim it's misuse of law enforcement vehicles for political agenda. The Houston Area Pastor Council were among those who spoke out on the matter.
"The so-called 'Pride Parade" is always led by a few politicians and organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and other public advocacy organizations who radically support unrestricted abortion, the suppression of equal freedom of speech and religion for all people such as the "HERO" ordinance and other such extreme ideologies," said the HAPC in their statement.
They added that they believe it has been a violation of equal protection for all citizens by having HPD and HFD vehicles and uniformed personnel marching in the parade.
"To take this abuse of public trust to the next level by decorating an HPD vehicle with the adopted "rainbow" of the LGBTQ movement and their slogan of "Peace, Equality, Pride" posted on the vehicle is an unacceptable violation," HAPC also stated.
In a statement, Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo said:
"While I respect their strong held beliefs, the crux of policing and keeping safe our diverse community requires us to work diligently to build bridges of trust with all segments of our city, especially those most vulnerable."
KPRC has a request into HPD for how much the decals cost.
When Acevedo was head of the Austin Police Department, a squad car also had rainbow decals during the Pride Parade in that city.
The Houston parade will continue down Smith to Walker, make a right and continue down Walker to Milam, and will end at Jefferson Street around 11 p.m.
Pride Houston states on its website that parking is available at all open downtown garages, but suggests that people use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft or take a taxi.
To learn more about the festival and the history of it, go to its website here.