The rainbow flags flew and marchers were out in big numbers for the third annual Monterey Peninsula Pride March and Celebration in downtown Monterey. Held on July 20, this was the first year the march was in Monterey, having taken place in in Seaside since its inception.

Over 1,000 people marched down Alvarado Street or watched the parade, which ended at Custom House Plaza with an array of speakers and a drag show.

While most allies and attendees in the march were either celebrating their identities or showing support for their friends and family, a pair of anti-LGBTQ+ protestors stood on the street corner near Britannia Arms pub with signs claiming being gay was against the teachings in the Bible. Their protest was quickly drowned out by cheers from members of the Free Mom and Dad Hugs—an organization of parents stepping in to show support for queer people who don't have parental or family support. 

As participants marched down the street, employees at downtown businesses walked outside and cheered or gave thumbs up to the parade.

Nancy Schmit of Santa Cruz was dressed in a "Free Mom Hugs" T-shirt and was visiting Monterey to support her daughter Emily Schmit and partner Maria Bellumori, both of Marina, who walked hand-in-hand during the parade.

"I'm Emily's mom, but I'm Maria's mom too," Schmit said.

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Staff photojournalist at Monterey County Weekly.

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