Parade to kick off Aug. 27 pride eventWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
The second annual Toledo Pride event is set for 2 p.m. to midnight Aug. 27 and will feature live music, food, merchandise, kids’ activities, a drag show and — new this year — a parade.
“We’re super-excited,” said Lexi Staples, executive director of the Pride of Toledo Foundation and event director for Toledo Pride 2011. “It will be Toledo’s first Pride parade ever. There will be floats and cars. Some of the bars are giving away free stuff. We’re doing beads and candy. We’re just jazzed. We expect it to be a really good turnout for our first parade.”
Last year’s inaugural Toledo Pride event attracted nearly 2,500 people from across the region — more than double the number organizers were hoping for. This year, the group is expecting at least double that number.
“We had such a good reception last year,” said Staples, who founded Toledo Pride about a year and a half ago. “The one thing everyone said was they wished there was a parade, so we decided to take that on this year and the committee has been really great at making happen what we dreamt.”
The parade will feature Toledo City Councilman Steve Steel and entertainer Hershae Chocolatae as grand marshals. It will start at 2 p.m. at the corner of Washington and South St. Clair streets in Downtown Toledo and end at Promenade Park to officially open the event.
From 3 to 7 p.m., attendees can browse the Community Connection Carnival, featuring more than 40 community organizations, vendors, food, merchandise, live entertainment, an activity area for kids and more. The kids’ area will be organized by Rainbow Area Youth (RAY), a confidential social and support group for LGBTQA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allies) youth ages 13-19.
The parade and Community Connection Carnival will be family-friendly. The event will be restricted to those age 18 and older starting at 10 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults until 7 p.m. and $7 after 7 p.m. Children age 17 and younger are free. Toledo Pride will be a cash-only event. Seating will be limited, so guests are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs.
“We’re trying to make it really family-friendly,” Staples said. “There will obviously be people in ridiculous rainbow gear, but we’re going to keep it PG-13 and it will probably be friendlier than that.”
The entertainment will kick off at 3:10 p.m. with local singer, songwriter and guitarist Kyle White followed by all-female group Spectrum at 3:55 p.m., folk-pop balladeers No Excuses at 4:40 p.m., soulful rockers The Shiz at 5:25 p.m., Toledo indie-pop outfit Dirty Damn Band at 6:10 p.m., What’s next., a jazz-infused rock group featuring Toledo City Councilman Steve Steel, at 6:55 p.m., acoustic duo Arctic Clam at 7:40 p.m., New York City-based Bitch at 9 p.m. and Shelly McWulf at 9:55 p.m.
Starting at 10 p.m., a Drag Extravaganza lasting until midnight will feature local performers, including Felaciana Thunderpussy, Amber Stone, Deja D. Dellataro, Sylvia Austin, London Neal, Makayla Sinclaire Styles, burlesque from The Underskirts of OutSkirts and drag kings Bois with OutSkirts and Blayke Shooter.
The celebration will continue at the Official Toledo Pride After-Party at Bretz Bar, 2012 Adams St., at 9 p.m. and featuring entertainment from Deja D. Dellataro, Felaciana Thunderpussy and guest Genesis. Cover is $5 for age 21 and older and $10 for those younger than 21.
Those interested in getting a jump-start on the celebration are invited to Prom Before Pride starting at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at OutSkirts Bar’s new location at 5038 Lewis Ave. Cover is $5 for ages 21 and older and $7 for those younger than 21.
“It’s fun and cheesy and open to everyone. People dress up super-crazy and we have a photographer come,” Staples said. “A lot of gay people either missed their prom because they didn’t feel comfortable going or didn’t want to pretend to be straight to go or they weren’t allowed to go with who they wanted to invite, so it’s fun.”
On Aug. 28, OutSkirts Bar also will host the Toledo Pride Post-Party and Drag-A-Palooza, starting at 3 p.m. and featuring music from Bitch, The Shiz and Backbone as well as drag performances. My House Diner at 5042 Lewis Ave. will serve $1 hot dogs, $1 fries and $2 burgers in the parking lot.
Parade coordinator Torie Thorne said organizers and community members are excited about the events, especially the historic parade.
For more information, visit the website www.toledopride.com.