I am a long time resident of Colorado Springs, and have attended pride fest as a community member, and in recent years, as a vendor. I don't know how they're figuring out headcount, but we were there as a vendor last year for both days. We and our fellow vendors all talked about how sales were down from the previous year, and we had far fewer people just stopping and looking. It's very difficult to believe that 35,000 people attended that event - 10,000 more than the previous year. I know the pride center has had to deal with significant financial issues, because I was personally approached to help them out less than a year ago. Rumors abound, but from what was shared with me by a well known representative of the pride center, my take on it is that the core of the situation was basic mismanagement. There was a lot of finger pointing and misguided blame. When I asked a couple of months later about how things were going, she told me rather triumphantly, that they had "finagled" $15,000 out of the Gil Foundation, to pay off their debt. She very proudly told me that she approached the Gil Foundation and basically threatened them if they didn't help. I was shocked, and told her I had a hard time believing that was a smart thing to do, and she replied "It worked didn't it?" I found that distasteful, and it completely turned me off to this person, and the pride center for doing it. I think the truth is that the source of the problem landed squarely on the director and poor fiscal management and decision making. So, this latest drama doesn't surprise me, and shouldn't surprise anyone that knows how the pride center operates and interacts with the community. It's disappointing, and I think the pride center has a lot of work to do to repair its well deserved unfortunate reputation within the glbt community, and the community at large.
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