Pride Night at Fresno Chaffee Zoo draws families in rainbow attire

Alyssa Flores Image
Saturday, June 25, 2022
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The colors of the Pride Flag were around every corner of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo on Friday night during the Pride Night celebration.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The colors of the Pride Flag were around every corner of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo on Friday night during the Pride Night celebration.

Families came out in their rainbow attire to take part in the zoo's first ever after-hours, private event centered around Pride Month.

But leading up to Pride Night at the zoo, the itinerary was called into question - particularly a drag show scheduled to take place as part of the celebration.

After religious leaders gathered to denounce the raising of the Pride flag at Fresno City Hall this week, some members of the LGBTQ+ community said they felt intimidation from people who didn't agree with the zoo's Pride event.

Fresno police chief Paco Balderrama enlisted extra police presence at the zoo Friday night in the event of a demonstration that gets out of hand.

"We just want people to be able to assemble if they want to protest something, they can protest it but they have to do it in an orderly fashion. They cannot destroy anything, they cannot assault anyone," he said.

Zoo directors John Forrest Dohlin said families can expect a drag show that's appropriate for all ages.

"The idea that performers are locked into one way of presenting themselves and can't be appropriate for the audience that they are addressing seems to me to fly in the face of what we all know to be true," said Dohlin.