Three-day gay pride celebration to kick off Aug. 10Written by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo Pride is changing locations Downtown, expanding its parade route and adding several new activities — all factors organizers say will make this year’s event bigger and better than ever.
The three-day weekend will kick off with a Nite Glo 5K/fun run Aug. 10 at the University of Toledo. There will be a parade at noon Aug. 11 followed by a commitment ceremony for 10 couples and an event lineup that includes community vendors, live music, a drag show and after-parties. On Aug. 12, participants can cool down with a water balloon fight and community ice cream social.
About 5,000 people attended Toledo Pride last year in Promenade Park and more are expected this year as the event moves to Levis Square, said Lexi Staples, executive director of the Pride of Toledo Foundation and event director for Toledo Pride.
This is the third year for Toledo Pride and the second year for the parade. The event was moved because of construction at Promenade Park.
“We’re just jazzed. It’s just crazy how fast it’s been growing,” Staples said. “We’re excited to move back to Promenade Park next year, but I think it’s going to work out and the new parade route is better. The main benefit is the cool parade route.”The parade route will start at Levis Square and wind through Jefferson Avenue, Huron Street and Adams Street before ending back at Levis Square, located on North St. Clair Street between Jefferson and Madison avenues.
Mayor Mike Bell and Jennifer Tyrrell of Bridgeport, Ohio, will serve as grand marshals. Tyrrell, a lesbian and mother of four, recently gained national attention after she was removed by the Boy Scouts of America as her son’s Cub Scout den mother because of her sexual orientation.
Parade coordinator Torie Thorne said the parade is fun for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.
“The parade is just a melting pot of everyone in the community,” Thorne said. “It’s always a lot of good energy. It’s family-friendly. It’s just a really good time. Last year, it went really well, so I can only imagine it will be a million times better this year.”
Following the parade, 10 couples will participate in a commitment ceremony in Levis Square organized by Toledo Pride in partnership with Support Marriage Equality in Ohio.
The Community Connection Festival event will run from 1-7 p.m., featuring more than 60 vendor booths as well as food and drinks. Live entertainment, including bands and a drag show, will run until midnight. Admission is $5 before 7 p.m. and $7 after 7 p.m.
“We’ve got some great performers coming in,” Staples said. “The entertainment will be on a higher scale. It’s just going to be bigger and better.”
Minneapolis-based Spearz, an all-male Britney Spears cover band, will headline the musical acts at 9 p.m. Other performers include Amanda Rice at 12:45 p.m., Toledo cover band The Rivets at 1:35 p.m., Ohio powerpop/electronic rock artist Master T.C. at 2:30 p.m., techno pop singer/songwriter Christopher Norman of Ann Arbor at 3:40 p.m., synth-driven electronic pop group Wideband Network, featuring vocalist Casey Clark of Toledo, at 4:50 p.m., rock cover band Arctic Clam of Toledo at 6:10 p.m. and electronic DJ Kenneth Thomas of Detroit at 7:30 p.m. Times are subject to change.
The Drag Extravaganza, starting at 10:30 p.m., will include Mystique Summers, a contestant on season two of Logo TV’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” as well as local favorites Felaciana Thunderpussy, Deja Dellataro, London Asia, Amber Stone and The Bois with Outskirts.
Several bars, including Bretz, OUTSKiRTS RHouse, RipCord and Blush, will host after-parties following the entertainment.
Nite Glo 5K
The inaugural Nite Glo 5K was organized by recent University of Toledo graduate Justin Veigel, who said his high school cross country team in Akron hosted a similar event and he thought it would be a fun addition to Toledo Pride.
“Some Prides have a 5K competition, but we wanted to do something different than everyone else and do it at night,” Veigel said. “We thought that would be pretty cool and thought it’d be a great way to get people to Toledo early and get them to explore a little more.”
Participants will receive colored glow sticks and run through an illuminated course on UT’s main campus. There will also be a pet-friendly one-mile event for participants to “run, walk or roll.” All participants will receive a T-shirt.
Registration starts at 6 p.m. Aug. 10. the race begins around 9 p.m. Participants can preregister at toledopride.com. Cost is $18 for the 5K and $15 for the one-mile event. Proceeds will benefit the Pride of Toledo Foundation, Equality Toledo and Spectrum UT, the LGBTQA student group at UT.
Sunday Funday, hosted by the Owens Community College Gay Straight Alliance in partnership with the Pride of Toledo Foundation, will run from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 12 in the quad between College Hall, Health Technologies Hall and the Child Care Center at Owens’ Toledo-area campus.
Guests are encouraged to bring their own picnic baskets, blankets and chairs to the family-friendly, alcohol-free event featuring a water balloon tournament at 1 p.m. and ice cream social at 3 p.m., said event coordinator Lily Briggs, president of Owens’ Gay Straight Alliance. Music, giveaways and other activities, including beanbag toss, Frisbee and sidewalk chalk, are also planned.
Admission is free, but donations of nonperishable food items for Owens’ Harvest Food Pantry are encouraged, Briggs said.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Briggs said. “I hope people just leave knowing everyone around them accepted them for who they are and they could just let loose and have fun with their friends and kids and family. Toledo Pride is the one place, once a year, that you can just truly be yourself and not worry about anything.”
Toledo Free Press is the media sponsor of Toledo Pride.
Toledo Free Press is the media sponsor of Toledo Pride. For more information, visit www.toledopride.com.
Tags: Amber Stone, Arctic Clam, Bois with Outskirts, Bretz, Casey Clark, Christopher Norman, Deja Dellataro, DJ Kenneth Thomas, Felaciana Thunderpussy, Jennifer Tyrrell, Justin Veigel, Lexi Staples, London Asia, Master T.C., Mike Bell, Mystique Summers, OutSKIRTS, Owens Community College Gay Straight Alliance, RHouse, Ripcord/Blush, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Toledo PRIDE, Torie Thorne, Wideband