CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Charlotte is hosting its annual two-day gathering of gays and lesbians, a weekend event culminating in the city's first gay pride parade in 19 years.
The Charlotte Observer reports about 55,000 people are expected at the festival, which begins Saturday and includes a parade on Sunday, the first such parade in North Carolina's largest city since 1994.
Among those expected to march in the parade are Charlotte Mayor Patsy Kinsey and City Council members LaWana Mayfield and Billy Maddalon. Kinsey is a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, and Mayfield and Maddalon are both openly gay.
Charlotte police say they'll treat the festival like other events by scheduling additional officers to manage crowds and traffic. Arrests are so rare that both police and organizers can't remember the last one.