Nikki Fultz, the director of Fort Wayne Pride, wasn't sure how many people would participate in a march that would start the second day of Fort Wayne Pride 2012, a two-day event centered around the diversity of Fort Wayne's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
If Fultz had any concerns about numbers, they wound up being unfounded, as a few hundred people took to the streets for a march downtown, starting and ending at the pride festival's location in Headwaters Park.
"(The march) is a natural progression from the festival -- people have asked if we could do one for years," Fultz said Saturday morning. "It's been great to see how much support this has gotten."
Fultz is working her 12th Fort Wayne Pride festival, which is in its 15th year. There have been a number of changes over the years, including increasing acceptance among the community, Fultz said.
"We used to have a lot more backlash...the hate groups, the KKK even came one year," Fultz said. "That's gone away over time, as more people have gained understanding about the issues. Now, it seems that if someone doesn't like (the festival), they choose to stay away, stay home."
"It's neat to look around and see the people, the vendors, how much it's grown," Fultz continued. She explained that 70 vendors, some from as far away as Buffalo, New York, and Iowa, are supporting the festival this year, an increase from 55 in 2011.
Fultz estimated around 6,000 visitors would come to the event after a strong opening night on Friday and said that the event is open to all. She projected that the festival would take in around $30,000, which would be used to support next year's festival as well as provide some funding for smaller events for the rest of the year.