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Tucson Pride Festival attendees happy to see heightened security

Posted at 10:38 PM, Oct 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-02 01:38:28-04

With more security measures in place at the 39th Annual Tucson Pride in the Park Festival, many attendees felt they could enjoy the day and feel safe at the same time. The added security comes after the attack on an Orlando nightclub that killed 49 people over the summer.

"Keeping people safe," attendee Kevin Bushaw said. "We can have fun and relax and enjoy our safe space."

The new measures included a fully fenced-in venue, with more police officers and security guards patrolling the grounds. On top of that, people could not bring outside food or drinks into the venue, were patted down, and had their bags searched. 

"It was very simple, very quick, very easy," Bushaw said about going through the security checkpoint. "It didn't feel like it was TSA level security, but it was definitely thorough."

Another attendee -- Rita Birdsong -- felt there was enough security for her to feel safe, but not too much to ruin the fun. Having participated in Pride events throughout Arizona, she said sometimes the security can be too strict.

"I think more security is going to keep a damper on things," she said. "Because people are going to feel like they're being watched more. We get watched enough, we don't need more."

Both Birdsong and Bushaw agree that the added security was necessary for people to really relax, feel safe, and enjoy the event.

"Especially with all of the things happening since the Orlando Pulse shooting," Bushaw said. "I mean, Phoenix bars were robbed this week. More security is a good thing, keep the people safe."