Toledo Pride gears up for annual celebrationWritten by Rick Cornett | | CountryConnection@toledofreepress.com
The biggest celebration of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is sure to be the fifth annual Toledo Pride Festival and Parade, at Promenade Park in Downtown Toledo. The event started in 2010 at the Erie Street Market with 1,500 attending. Last year, over 15,000 attended during the three-day event, and this year is expected to draw about 24,000 people from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.
For months the Toledo Pride committee has been hard at work with meetings, fundraisers, securing permits, and networking to gain support from volunteers, sponsors, vendors and entertainers as we raise awareness for the annual celebration. The preplanning for a growing event like this never really ends. You no sooner wrap up one year before you’re already working on the next.
Toledo Pride is a celebration of the diversity the LGBT community embraces. We unite to celebrate the history of the equal rights lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been working toward since the Stonewall Riots jumpstarted the gay rights movement in 1969. We welcome the allies of family, friends and co-workers although they have not always welcomed us. All LGBT-friendly people are welcome at the Toledo Pride Festival and Parade!
The three-day event kicks off on Friday, Aug. 22, with a Night Glo 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run,Walk and Roll at the University of Toledo at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, is the main day with the Pride Parade kicking off at noon at Washington and Ontario streets and unfolding into Promenade Park. The Pride Festival starts at 1 p.m. and runs until midnight with a full day of live entertainment including singers, drag queens, drag kings and bands. Featured acts include Indie pop artist Pastele, dance hip-hop singer Rye Rye and pop-punker Eryn Woods. Other acts include Flabongo Nation, Arctic Clam, Chavar Dontae and Breaking Ground.
Toledo Pride will also include many food vendors, a beer tent and 50 booths from various LGBT organizations promoting education, health, charity groups and social support. Some booths will offer information on local churches, politics, and media outlets, as well as pride merchandise.
The Sandpiper boat will again offer 40-minute Pride Rides on the Maumee River. The Park Inn is the host hotel for Toledo Pride with discounted rates of $89 per room and they are within walking distance of the festival.
The weekend wraps up with Sunday Funday at Promenade Park with kid friendly games and family fun activities from noon to 3 p.m. There will be no alcohol sales from noon until 3 p.m. to ensure a child friendly environment. The laid back day continues until 10 p.m. with entertainment, food and
Although June is gay pride month across the world Toledo Pride is celebrated in August. We are the newest of the Ohio pride festivals and we are trying to establish our event without competing against others throughout June. This ensures better support and a bigger turnout for Toledo Pride as we continue to grow.
Lexi Staples, director of Toledo Pride, and her team of dedicated committee members — myself, Deanna Eff, Nicole Hayman, Kelly Heuss, Nicole Khoury, Brent Rabie, Sandra Rabie, Mandisa Sherife-Kekulah, Brian Sniegocki, Lenny Sniegocki, Kaleena Spivey, Honnie Staples, Torie Thorne, Sherry Tripepi, and Justin Veigel — work together as a labor of love for the LGBT community without financial compensation. Beyond this committee an army of volunteers is needed to help make this event happen. If you are interested in helping volunteer please reach out to volunteer coordinator Brent Rabie at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the fourth year, Toledo Free Press will serve as the official media sponsor for Toledo Pride. If you are interested in advertising in the special Pride Guide issue, contact John McNamara at jmcnamara@toledo freepress.com
For information on Toledo Pride 2014, visit www.ToledoPride.com and like them on Facebook.
Rick Cornett is an activist, promoter and historian for the Toledo LGBT community serving on the Holiday with Heart Charity Gayla and Toledo Pride committees.
Tags: Arctic Clam, bisexual, Breaking Ground, Chavar Dontae, dance hip-hop singer Rye Rye, director of Toledo Pride, Flabongo Nation, gay, Honnie Staples, John McNamara, Justin Veige, Kaleena Spivey, l, Lenny Sniegocki, Lesbian, Lexi Staples, LGBT, Night Glo 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run, Pastele, pop-punker Eryn Woods, Pride Rides, Promenade Park, Sherry Tripepi, Stonewall Riots, Toledo Pride Festival and Parade, Torie Thorne, transgender, volunteer coordinator Brent Rabie, Walk and Roll at the University of Toledo