Thousands turn out for LI Pride Parade in Long Beach

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LONG BEACH -

Three days of pride festivities culminated Sunday in Long Island's largest celebration of LGBT pride, the 27th annual Long Island Pride Parade. 

It was the first year the festival and parade were held in Long Beach. Nearly 100 groups marched down Broadway as spectators cheered and waved flags. Organizations from across the Island took part to share a message of peace, acceptance and love.

The Long Island LGBT Network and the city estimate there were roughly 25,000 people at today's event. 

David Kilmnick, CEO of the Long Island LGBT Network, says the event had the perfect energy. 

"The vibe in this city has been electric the entire week," he says. "It's not only the visitors that have come in from 15 different states and three cities in Canada, it's the  residents and businesses of Long Beach that have opened up their arms and given the LGBT community a big hug."

This year, 49 surfers also hit the waves in Long Beach for a memorial "paddle-out" to honor the victims killed in last year's mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Hundreds took part in the beachfront ceremony and placed flowers into the ocean.

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