Leaders welcome thousands to CLE for 2014 Gay Games

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CLEVELAND -- Cleveland-area leaders today welcomed thousands of people from all over the country and world for the 2014 Gay Games.

Officials from Cleveland and Akron, along with Gay Games organizers, spoke on the event and welcomed participants and visitors at a press conference Saturday.

Cleveland police Friday said they were ready to secure the Gay Games, and hope the week-long event helps them prepare for when the city hosts the Republican National Convention in two years.

Officials said at a news conference on Friday that hundreds of officers will be deployed to guard the games in some capacity.

Those officers have been offered what's known as "cultural competency" training to prepare for the games.

Security at all large-scale events has changed since the Boston Marathon bombing last year.

"Boston was a game-changer," said Commander Harold Pretel of the Cleveland Police Department.

One example of that: larger bags and backpacks will not be allowed inside the Q during Saturday's opening ceremonies.

Officials encourage people to keep their eyes open and report anything that looks suspicious to police.

There will also be a few road closures; most notably, part of the Shoreway will be closed to most traffic on Sunday morning.

CLICK HERE for a complete list of road closings.

CLICK HERE for a complete schedule.

CLICK HERE for continuing coverage.

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