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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski raises the Pride flag outside the Salt Lake City-County Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski signed a proclamation Wednesday kicking off Utah's annual Pride celebration.

Biskupski, reading from the document, distinguished June 2 and June 3 as “Pride in Salt Lake City,” encouraging “all residents and visitors to embrace Pride’s message of equality and unity and to enjoy the festival in peace, safety and love.”

Biskupski signed the proclamation surrounded by festival volunteers and organizers who helped her raise the rainbow Pride flag in front of the Salt Lake City-County Building. The signing kicked off the multiday LGBT celebration that expects to bring over 50,000 people to Sunday’s parade alone, according to organizer estimates.

“Pride means so many different things to so many different people,” Rob Moolman, the executive director of the Utah Pride Center, said after the mayor's proclamation. “To me, however, Pride, and particularly this Pride, means coming together.”

The Utah Pride Center tasks itself with organizing the annual Pride Festival and Moolman estimates hundreds of volunteers provide their time for the planning and preparation of the event.

Real Salt Lake was set to host the first Pride event during Wednesday’s game against the Houston Dynamos at Rio Tinto Stadium. A portion of the ticket proceeds were to be used toward an LGBT University of Utah student scholarship.

On Thursday, Zion Lutheran Church will host a Pride Interfaith Service from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 1070 Foothill Drive in Salt Lake City.

Tickets for Friday’s Pride Spectacular sold out two weeks after they went on sale, according to the event’s website. The annual reception will be held at the Union Events Center from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The Youth Pride Dance will be held Friday from 8 to 11 p.m. on the Washington Square. Tickets are available for purchase online and at the event for those between 14 and 20 years old.

The festival itself, with tickets ranging from $9 to $60, will be held Saturday and Sunday on both sides of Washington Square Park with multiple official events throughout each day. Live music, karaoke and activities will be spread out across the grounds with food and drink available for purchase.

The festival runs Saturday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, bringing in between 30,000-40,000 people on average each day, according to Moolman.

The weekend festival on the park grounds, with its freedom from “judgment” or “any kind of discrimination,” is what Moolman said he loves more than anything.

“Come and just sit on one of these benches and just watch people walk past,” Moolman said. “It is families, it is friends, it is colleagues. … This is a place where you can see people breathe.”

Starting Saturday, June 2, at 8 a.m. in Jordan Park, the first event of the day will be the OUTdoors and Proud 5K. Wednesday is the last day to register for the race, which will also include yoga, fitness challenges and other activities in the park.

From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. that same day, participants will march from the state Capitol down State Street and 200 East for the Pride March and Rally. The rally itself will begin on the south stairs of the capitol.

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Saturday’s official events will conclude with a series of speakers and films at the main branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library from noon until 6 p.m.

The week’s events all culminate on Sunday for the Utah Pride Parade on 200 South in downtown Salt Lake City. Beginning at the 200 West intersection at 10 a.m., the parade route runs east down 200 South and disbands at the 400 East intersection. The parade is expected to end at noon.

Sunday’s official events will also close with a series of speakers and films at the Salt Lake City Public Library from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.