The morning parade was canceled just as it began because the grand marshal car, driven at slow speed by Edith Bailey, a 70 year-old woman from Eagler River who may have been unfamiliar with the convertible's stick shift operation, ran over a 50 year-old banner-carrier, James Crump, killing him. (I saw the failed CPR and the EMT crew putting the white sheet over him.) Crump was a nurse at HHS and attended the now defunct Anchorage MCC. Bent Alaska has much more.
Though delayed and somewhat subdued, the afternoon rally went ahead as planned. Senator Mark Begich, an Alaskan Democrat, spoke between musical numbers, telling the crowd about his work on the Armed Services Committee repealing DADT. He also discussed pending legislation to require any school that accepts federal money to adopt an LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying policy; news to me. Begich is a long-time pride supporter, dating back to his years as mayor of Anchorage. The current Anchorage mayor vetoed a gay rights ordinance that narrowly passed the city council, exactly as his father had vetoed a similar law when he was mayor decades earlier.
The mixed crowd of several hundred people was very open and friendly. More of my photos here.
Last year, an arsonist burned a parade float the day before the Anchorage parade. No arrests have been made in that case. Unrelated, in Chicago vandals slashed the tires on 51 floats overnight prior to today's pride parade.