Downtown Portland was packed with people Saturday for the Pride Festival kickoff.

Safety was a big focus, after Portland Police Bureau officers said they were aware of community concerns about people planning to disrupt this weekend’s events.

Outside the gates of Pride Festival, protesters tried to rattle the crowd, but it didn’t phase most people who told FOX 12 they were there to preach love and acceptance.

“A lot of folks bring hate and that just doesn’t feel good,” said Sister Shomi, with the Portland Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Story Continues Below

Volunteers, staff, and security could be seen throughout the festival, in order to provide a safe environment for everyone.

“For years, the city has called us the safest place to be during pride,” said Debra Porta, the executive director for Pride Northwest. “We just all coordinate together to be ears, and eyes, and anticipate so that everyone stays safe.”

New spaces were added, like the Portland Pride Collective, a way for people of color who also identify with the LGBTQ community to unify.

“It feels really good,” said Jackie Malstrom, with Portland Two Spirit Society.

She tells FOX 12 they’ve tabled at the festival for the last three years, but it was a separate booth.

“This is a way for us to come together in force, and not only uplift each other, but to hold space for everyone in pride. Because pride can feel kind of isolating sometimes, especially as a POC (person of color) and a queer person,” Malstrom said.

The Pride Parade steps off at the North Park Blocks Sunday morning at 11 a.m. and ends back at the waterfront festival site.

Organizers say it’s shaping up to be the biggest Pride Parade in Portland yet.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.