NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) - The Northwest Arkansas Center for equality is hosting its 10th annual Pride Week with the festivities beginning on Thursday (June 16). Thousands are expected to attend the events, even after the Orlando tragedy. As a result - more police officers will be in attendance and making sure everything runs smoothly.
Dickson Street in Fayetteville will be packed this weekend with folks from all over the area remembering the lives lost in Orlando and showing support for the LGBTQ community.
Fayetteville police said, while they won't be inside the bars themselves, they will be out in full force along Dickson Street in both their patrol units and on bikes. Meanwhile, most of the bars will have hired their own security for their pride events this week out of abundance of caution following the Orlando massacre earlier this week.
While there hasn't been any sort of threat made in our area targeting the LGBTQ crowd, Sgt. Craig Stout with Fayetteville Police said it's better to be safe than sorry. Stout also adds, that several backup officers are on call if anything were to happen. "Anything is possible but our officers have been trained for these types of actions and we prepare for the worst," said Stout.
"We want to make sure the people that are attending the festival have a good time but are safe while doing it," said Stout.
Pride week begins in Bentonville on Thursday (June 16) with Happy Hour starting at 5:30 p.m. Then on Friday (June 17) the party moves to Dickson Street with the pub crawl.
The most attended event of Pride Week is the parade which happens on Saturday morning in Fayetteville. There's also a rally planned for Saturday at Old Main. Pride Week comes to a close on Sunday with an interfaith fellowship gathering at "Spirit of Peace" in Fayetteville.