With pride week kicking off on Thursday in Halifax, an estimated 150,000 people gathered in downtown Halifax on Saturday for the annual Pride Parade.

Participants in the parade marched, danced, and even piped, all while trying to keep themselves cool in the scorching heat.

The celebration is much bigger than the first parade about 30 years ago.

“I remember our first pride, we used to march up on Maitland Street, and it was so small, and so cramped, and it was like thrown together that morning in a panic,” said drag queens Deva Station and Dyna Might.

Deva Station and Dyna Might are celebrating their 20th pride together. They say there’s more support from the community now, but there’s still a long way to go.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done to be fully accepted,” explained Dyna Might.

“Because most people don’t realize that it’s still, this was started with protest. Pride was not a big celebration, it was a protest,” said Deva Station.

Tracey Boutilier also attended the parade on Saturday along with her grandchildren. Boutilier was offering ‘free mom hugs’ to anyone who needed it.

“It’s not that they chose, it’s who they are and their parents sometimes don’t accept that,” said Boutilier. “I decided, you know what, I am a parent that does accept that so, I’d like to pass that on.”

That feeling of support isn’t shared by everyone though. Jennifer Pierce was shocked when she found offensive stickers posted around Dalhousie campus on Saturday.

“I stopped to take a picture so there would be evidence, and then ripped them down as fast as I could, and slammed them into a garbage can. I was so upset by them!” said Pierce.

Representatives from all local political parties attended the festivities including federal Green Leader Elizabeth May, who made her first appearance at Halifax Pride. She says she hopes Canada can go further to promote global tolerance.

“We know that in many countries, it’s still illegal and you can go to jail for who you love, and we have to hope that we can use our international diplomacy to end that. To liberate people around the world,” said May.

The pride festival continues this week with other 150 events taking place around the Halifax area.

The spirit of pride will continue in Prince Edward Island when their festival begins next week. Pride celebrations in Cape Breton will take place in August.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron-Cadloff