The second annual Burke Pride, hosted by LGBT Burke, brought out participants and protesters on Saturday on the Historic Burke County Courthouse lawn.

Organizer Seth Loven said the event attracted close to 500 participants. Vendors, social justice groups and a DJ were all on hand to entertain and inform the LGBT community and its allies as they stopped by the square.

Two protesters, who would not identify themselves, stood on the sidewalk near the courthouse to preach while holding large signs.

For each minute the two men protested, multiple donors pledged $1 through the Morganton Humanist Alliance to Equality NC, a state group focused on LGBTQ rights. MHA President Isaac Crouch said $2,323 was pledged for the entire day.

A third protester, Dillon Stillwell, passed out free water and received praise from multiple participants for his peaceful protesting.

Morganton Department of Public Safety officers were present to provide security and said the event ran smoothly.

"I definitely believe it is spread with love here," Loven said. "I'm very pleased with this year's pride."  

Check out the Burke Pride 2017 gallery for more photos: bit.ly/2eQDI1Q.

Ryan Wilusz is a staff writer and can be reached at rwilusz@morganton.com or 828-432-8941.

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