For several years, members of a Boulder County group that supports gay and lesbian youth have gathered for an annual pride event in Longmont. The events took place in parks, largely obscured from the public.

If you go

What: Longmont Pride

When: 3-7 p.m. Saturday, June 28

Where: East breezeway and alley on the 300 block of Main Street

More info: Longmont Pride Facebook page

That's going to change this year.

The group, called OASOS, is working with KCP Gallery to put pride in the center of the community. Longmont Pride is planned for 3-7 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, in the east breezeway and alley of the 300 block of Main Street.

OASOS, which stands for Open and Affirming Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Support, is a program of Boulder County Public Health. Program coordinator Heather Crate said the push to relocate to the heart of the city largely came from program members.

"We've had youth in the past want to be more visible," Crate said. "They felt being tucked away in the park made them invisible."

The downtown location brings more visibility, but it also enlarges the scope of the event. Last year no more than 15 organizations had tables at the event, for example. This year organizers are expecting 25. The proximity of downtown businesses also increases the opportunity for collaboration. Instant Imprints, High Altitude Archery and other downtown businesses are contributing to the event, said Marcelo Fernandez, co-owner of KCP Gallery and a Longmont Pride organizer.

The event is meant to be family-friendly, and it does not welcome alcohol, tobacco or drugs, Fernandez said. He wants the event to send the message that members of Longmont's gay community are really no different than anyone else.

"We're all people," he said. "We're professionals, we have businesses, we have families."

Fernandez and KCP Gallery co-owner Tony Camp are domestic partners and have been together 17 years, Fernandez said.

He would like downtown Longmont to be a welcoming place for everyone.

"I think what's really hard for people, especially for the youth, is to accept themselves for who they are," he said. "I want to make downtown a safe place for them to be."

It's possible that some in the community will resist a downtown pride event, because "discrimination is still very prominent in Longmont," he said. He's even experienced racial discrimination within the gay community. KCP Gallery is paying for security for the event.

"If we do not find our voice and stand up for what we believe then it's never going to change," he said.

The event is planned to feature a DJ's (including Fernandez, a DJ), community booths, food, kids' activities, youth drag performers, a pie-eating contest and other attractions.

Contact Times-Call staff writer Quentin Young at 303-684-5319 or qyoung@times-call.com