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This year marks a change in location for all of the festivities of Aurora Pride. For the first time, it will be held at Aurora Reservoir. It was essential to have a location that not only brings the fun, but also the acceptance and ethos that OUT FRONT stands behind. Brian Green, superintendent of parks, recreation, and open space, affirms that the reservoir is home to the best beach in the metro area.

The Aurora Reservoir is a beautiful outdoor space with an eclectic amount of activities for people to enjoy all summer long. On average, the staff at the reservoir serves half a million people every year. This is due to their accommodating services and the welcoming atmosphere that works to engage communities in a healthy and active lifestyles.

Right next to the swim beach, there is a boat dock which will be available the day of Aurora Pride with paddle boards and kayaks. The reservoir does not allow motorized boats on the water due to the fact that it is also a source of drinking water for over 300,000 citizens. The lack of boat-generated waves results in a calm water environment, making way for a paddler’s paradise. The water at Aurora Reservoir is unbelievably clear and crystal blue, which, according to Green, is because it is pure runoff.

The runoff water is piped in from the mountains, treated, and then sent to the people of Aurora and surrounding areas, including Centennial.

Aurora Reservoir is also home to Senac Creek Nature Center, one of three nature centers located in Aurora. The nature center is based at the reservoir, because beyond the water is a vast expanse of beautiful prairie land, plains, and wildlife. Green explained that there is exceptional bird watching in the area, which is home to waterfowl, gulls, grebes, geese, ducks, herons, and plovers. Surrounding the reservoir is a beautiful, mild hiking trail that extends about eight-and-a-half miles, giving visitors the chance to escape to nature while still close to home. Spotted in the area have been pronghorn, coyotes, jack rabbits, bald eagles, and many more rare animal sightings.

Green explained that the decision to move Aurora Pride from its previous location at Aurora City Hall to the reservoir is simply a step in the natural evolution of this event. The reservoir is a much more unique area with wide open spaces, giving way to a larger community gathering. Aurora Reservoir is busy every day during the summer, which Green says should potentially help Aurora Pride to gain traction and receive bigger support than it ever has.

“Aurora City Council got behind the idea to move Pride to the reservoir right away and even donated city funds towards making the event possible,” he explained. “Aurora is a very inclusive city, and we want to be welcoming to everyone as well as promote diversity and individuality.”

As this is the first year that Aurora Pride will be held at the Reservoir, everyone in attendance must do their part to help ensure that the location remains at our disposal in the years to come. It is important to remember to treat space as if it were any other day, which means all rules and regulations must be respected. Reservoir rules can be found on their website, and signs are posted around the site. Two big ones to keep in mind are a strict no-glass policy and, even though you might want to include them in the festivities, no furry friends are permitted on reservoir grounds. These friendly reminders are small efforts to help protect stunning natural resources that we all hold dear.

All in all, everyone involved with helping put this event together at the OUT FRONT Foundation, Aurora Reservoir, and Aurora City Council are so excited to be putting together Aurora Pride and can’t wait to see it all come together. Friends and family will be able to celebrate our LGBTQ communities while swimming, paddling, playing volleyball, eating at delicious food trucks, listening to live music, and of course, enjoying sensational drag performances. Just don’t forget to bring lots of sunscreen!

Photos courtesy of Aurora Reservoir