For the first time in history, the City of Calgary will be raising a pride flag to commemorate the 2009 pride parade and festival on Sunday.

But that is just one of the changes and steps made to this year’s pride festivities in which the Calgary police service horses will also be out for the first time, according to the president of Calgary Pride’s volunteer board.

“Alberta is generally a conservative province but we have come a long way, though I still think we have a ways to go. But these are definitely steps in the right direction,” Sam Casselman said.

Another difference this year is the event date change from June to the September long-weekend in an attempt to thwart any rainy weather, says Casselman. She expects about 4,000 people to attend the parade, which has over 30 floats.

“We are open and diverse to the gay community, straight community and everything in between. We were striving for acceptance so the more supporters, the better.”

Ward 12 alderman Ric McIver said he supports the event this weekend.

“Anytime people can get together and have a celebration it’s good — it’s good for people to celebrate whatever their cause,” McIver said.