Spent a very special weekend in my best friend’s hometown a few days back. You may remember him and his partner Chris from our combined anniversary adventure in the Sand Dunes last year. June is Pride Month in the U.S. when there are events across the country to show support for, and stand against violence and discrimination towards, those in the LGBTQ community. It’s a tradition nearly 50 years strong in this country, although in the small mountain town of Salida; last weekend they had their second ever Pride event.
This was a huge moment for Matt who grew up in this community. With a population of well under 6,000, it was great to see such a big turn out of people from the LGBTQ community and allies walking together to promote diversity and equality.
The march went through downtown and ended at Riverside Park which sits right along the beautiful Arkansas River. There were a bunch of booths, games and vendors. The weather also could not have been more perfect!
Throughout the day the event had several inspirational speakers including: Matt! Cue the waterworks. His speech about growing up in Salida and how much it means to him to have his hometown openly, and proudly, support him and others brought me to tears!
After his speech we stopped for lunch at The Boathouse. It was such an awesome building. The town is more than 130 years old so some of the buildings have really interesting and historic architecture or art on them. Check out all of these different murals on top of one another.
We chowed down by the riverside and continued exploring Salida.
Salida is a kayaking mecca. They have a massive event every year called FIBArk that brings tens of thousands of people to the town to kayak and boat the Arkansas River. So naturally, we had to have a quick photo shoot by the iconic kayaks set up in town.
Then began hours worth of digging through the best thift and antique stores I’ve ever seen. Y’know how sometime you go into stores like that and really it’s all just old junk? Not in Salida. I hit the jackpot on some great vinyls for S and I’s record player back home (including an ABBA record. Awesome!), read old postcards sent/received by Coloradans about a hundred years ago, and found some really neat old books and household items that likely don’t exist anymore. It was like going through a time machine haha.
The nightlife in Salida was surprisingly impressive (no offense). Wood’s High Mountain Distillery was my favorite with great music, cool photography on the walls and tasty craft cocktails. Oh, and this kooky robot butler:
The next morning we all had breakfast with Matt’s parents, who were wonderful hosts all weekend. We took a few strolls around some of their favorite lakes and got to see some adorable baby ducks! It was a beautiful way to spend the last few hours in the Rocky Mountains before heading back home.