Thousands packed downtown Houston Saturday evening for the Houston Pride Festival.

Attendees could be seen dancing on the steps of City Hall, the same steps where, 45 years ago, demonstrators gathered to protest discriminatory comments made by a singer and anti-gay local pastor.

Related: HPD part of Pride festivities downtown

It was Houston’s first demonstration for gay rights. Four decades later, the Pride Houston Festival is proof of the city’s diversity.

The gates opened at noon Saturday and will wrap up around 8 p.m. The Houston Pride Parade is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. starting at Smith and Lamar streets.

Houston’s first Pride parade was in 1978 in Montrose where it was held for many years before moving downtown. It’s estimated more than 700,000 people from all over the world attend Houston’s Pride Festival and Parade.

Photos: 2017 Houston Pride Festival