Tsunami Couture, left, and Divinia Aurora fan themselves on a hot afternoon during Roswell Pride at Cahoon Park, Saturday. (Mark Wilson Pho to)
Despite security threats, a city permitting crisis and a barricade installation with blackout screening, a few hundred people enjoyed the second Roswell Pride day at Cahoon Park Saturday.
Only a couple of vendors had emotional breakdowns early in the day after a brief confrontation with a passer-by.
“We’re able to handle what’s going on,” said Ernie Montoya, spokesman of Roswell Pride.
The group was forced to barricade the outside border of the park that faced North Union Street and West Fourth Street after security threats, said Sashua Patton, of Alianza of New Mexico. But organizers opted not to put up sheets to block out the entire event.
“We don’t want to hide who we are,” Patton said.
Security was also hired.
“We’re trying to keep individuals who come to support gay rights protected,” Montoya said. “There are kids here. My concern is for the families.”
Several attendees enjoyed the day and visited booths that provided information.
Amber Royster, executive director of Equality New Mexico in Albuquerque, an organization that pushes civil rights for the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community, said she had many people stop by to support the issues.
“The people of Roswell who are out today are wonderful,” Royster said. “We’ve had some beautiful families pledge their support for the freedom to marry in New Mexico.”
The organization has partnered with the ACLU campaign to allow gay marriage in New Mexico, Royster said.
Dee Arthur, owner of Caer and Dee’s Place, was offering commitment ceremony services. Several event-goers inquired, she said.
“I think the event’s going really well,” Arthur said. “A lot of people see what we’re doing.”
The Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico was handing out educational information for businesses and other people, said Julie Gray.
“We’ve got a lot of really interested people,” Gray said.
The event’s entertainment included a performance by an Albuquerque-based drag queen team, which included Tsunami Couture. Couture said she had helped fundraise $400 for Roswell Pride.
“We want to commend them for what they’re doing,” Couture said.
Other activities during the day included music, massage, acupressure and HIV testing.
Geriann Borunda, of Roswell, said she attended to support her friends.
“I’m here to support,” Borunda said. “I have friends in the gay community and I love all of them. I’m very passionate. I didn’t bring my kids today. I have three children and I raised every one of them to support.”
Molly McGlashen, who brought her friend and daughter, said the weather was beautiful.
“The people are friendly,” McGlashen said. “The people are friendly and this is very fun.”
The event was still overshadowed by trouble during its last few days. Last year, Roswell Pride was forced to move after the city pulled the permit at Hope Amphitheater three days before the event.
Though Roswell Pride filed its event application in April, the city rejected the permit July 26 over “really petty stuff,” Montoya said. Organizers were able to resubmit the application in time for the event to still continue.