Three-day Toledo Pride weekend kicks off Aug. 23Written by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
The inaugural Toledo Pride event took place at Erie Street Market in 2010 and drew about 2,500 people. The following year, it moved to Promenade Park, added a parade and drew about 5,000 people. Last year’s Pride moved Downtown, expanded to three days and drew more than 10,000 people. This year, organizers are hoping for at least 12,000.
“Everything’s gotten bigger every year,” said Lexi Staples, executive director of the Pride of Toledo Foundation and event director for Toledo Pride. “We’re very excited to be back at Promenade Park.”
The three-day weekend will kick off with the Nite Glo 5K on Aug. 23. Aug. 24 will feature a parade at noon followed by community vendors, live music and drag performances. On Aug. 25, participants can relax with games and a community ice cream social.
New this year will be Sandpiper Pride Rides on the Maumee River, an inflatable game area and a rainbow tie-dye T-shirt station.
Admission is $5 before 7 p.m. and $7 after 7 p.m. After 10 p.m., attendees must be 18 or older or accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance at www.toledopride.com.
This year’s parade will include dozens of floats, vehicles and walking groups, said parade coordinator Torie Thorne. The route will start on Washington Street at the intersection of Ontario Street, cross the Owens Corning bridge to North Summit Street and finish at Promenade Park.
Thorne said her favorite part of Pride is the feeling of community.
“There’s just a different energy at pride parades,” Thorne said. “You can go there and wear rainbows and people are not going to pick on you. You’re not going to be discriminated against because of who you are. It’s a safe feeling. You’re the majority for the day.”
Pride also draws thousands of straight supporters, Staples said.
“We have a lot, a lot, a lot of allies who come to everything and support everything,” Staples said. “People who want to be supportive to the community, or have a best friend, or are related to someone — or just want to be a part of the shenanigans we throw down.”
Sandpiper Pride Rides
The Sandpiper will offer four Maumee River boat rides during Pride, leaving from Promenade Park at 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Aug. 24. Each trip will last about 50 minutes. Tickets are $6 and available at Pride or in advance at toledopride.com. The 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. rides will be free for children 12 and younger with the purchase of an adult ticket.
“I have a gay daughter and I’ve always been interested in all the activities that go on [at Toledo Pride],” said the boat’s owner/operator Mary Dalby. “The ride is just a pretty, relaxing ride. It gives people a view of Toledo, which is totally magnificent from the river. I hope they learn something new and I hope they laugh out loud. It’s supposed to be entertaining as well as informative.”
Live entertainment starts at 12:30 p.m. and runs until midnight.
“The goal of this year’s entertainment is that every fourth song, no matter who you are, if you’re a grandma or a little kid or if you’re someone in between, you will be like, ‘This is my jam!’ and you’ll get down,” Staples said. “That way it feels like it’s exciting for everyone.”
This year’s musical headliner is Eric Himan, a Tulsa, Okla.-based singer/songwriter. Toledo Pride volunteer coordinator Brent Rabie saw him in concert earlier this year at Washington, D.C.’s Capital Pride and Columbus Pride.
“He looks really good, he sings really good, he basically to me is like a gay Adam Levine and I’m down with that,” Rabie said. “I’m super excited.”
Other musicians include Calvin Green, Beach and Ferron, Nine Lives, Johnniemae, Casey “3pm” Clark, Noisy Neighbors, The Rivets, Flabongo Nation and Arctic Clam.
This year’s lineup will feature 30 drag performers, the most yet, Staples said. They will be featured between bands, with the main show starting at 9 p.m.
“I’m really thrilled by the amount of response we’ve had from the drag community,” Staples said. “They will be sprinkled throughout the day this year, but everything’s going to be clean. We work really hard to make sure Pride is appropriate for families as well as fun for everybody.”
Several area bars will host after-parties, including OUTSKiRTS, Bretz, R House, Blush and Ripcord.
Nite Glo 5K
Despite the pouring rain, last year’s inaugural Nite Glo 5K drew 150 runners. Race coordinator Justin Veigel said he’s hoping for nicer weather this year.
“I was very surprised at the amazing turnout [last year],” Veigel said. “It shows what great support we have in Toledo. We are on track this year to have over 200 runners.”
This year’s run is set for 8:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at the University of Toledo’s Centennial Mall. There is also a one-mile “fun run, walk or roll.” Registration starts at 7 p.m.
Participants will receive colored glow sticks and run through a lighted course on UT’s main campus. Participants also get a T-shirt and a sub from Jimmy John’s. There will be a photo booth before the race and post-race entertainment on-site.
Participants can preregister at toledopride.com. Cost is $18 for the 5K, $15 each for a team of five to 10 or $12 for the one-mile event.
Proceeds will benefit Spectrum (UT’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied student group), Equality Toledo and other local LGBT youth organizations, Veigel said.
Sunday Funday, hosted by the Owens Community College Gay Straight Alliance, is set for noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 25 in the quad between College Hall, Health Technologies Hall and the Child Care Center.
The family-friendly, alcohol-free event will feature music, an ice cream social, carnival games and more. Admission is free.
“We had a really good response last year — about 150 people and a lot of those people weren’t doubles from Pride,” Staples said. “A lot of people had just come because they weren’t sure if Pride was appropriate for a family. It was really nice to be able to welcome those people into what we’re trying to do and we hope to see everybody at both events this year.”
Rabie said Toledo Pride is a special event for many locals.
“I’ve had people come up to me literally almost in tears because they can’t believe this is happening in Toledo, because they are just so happy it’s happening in Toledo,” he said. “Toledo Pride has changed the culture in Northwest Ohio.”
Toledo Free Press is the media sponsor of Toledo Pride. For more information, visit www.toledopride.com.
Toledo Pride Weekend Schedule of Events
8:30 p.m.: Nite Glo 5K and one-mile run/walk/roll
at University of Toledo Centennial Mall, registration opens at 7 p.m.
Noon: Pride Parade
Starts on Washington Street at Ontario Street, crosses the Owens Corning bridge to North Summit Street and finishes at Promenade Park.
12:30 p.m. to midnight: Entertainment at Promenade Park
- 12:30 p.m.: Calvin Green sings the national anthem
- 12:45-1:25 p.m.: Beach and Ferron
- 1:35-2:25 p.m.: Nine Lives
- 2:30-3 p.m.: Leyomie Lashae Asia, Levi Austin, Chanel Alexander, Brit Jones
- 3:05-3:20 p.m.: Johnniemae
- 3:25-3:40 p.m.: Eve Madison, Blake Shooter
- 3:45-4:10 p.m.: Casey “3pm” Clark
- 4:10-5 p.m.: Noisy Neighbors
- 5-5:45 p.m.: The Rivets
- 5:50-6:05 p.m.: Johnniemae
- 6:10-6:25 p.m.: Hershae Chocolate, King Teddy
- 6:30-7:25 p.m.: Flabongo Nation
- 7:35-8:25 p.m.: Eric Himan
- 8:30-10 p.m.: Deja Dellataro, DeAngela “Show” Shannon, National Holiday, Tequila Mockingbird, Amber Stone, Justyce Sinclaire, Dane Jaboe, Ari Capri, London Asia, MaKayla Sinclair Styles, Bois w/ Outskirts
- 10:10-11 p.m.: Arctic Clam
- 11:05 p.m. to midnight: Glamora, Feleciana Thunderpussy, Brook Lockhart, Rebecca Richards, Spacee Kadett, Farrah CT, Rya Chiffon Sinclaire, Empress Fontaine, DeAngela “Show” Shannon
1-7 p.m.: Community Connection vendors at Promenade Park
3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m.: Sandpiper Pride Rides, depart from Promenade Park
Midnight: Several area bars will host after-parties, including OUTSKiRTS, Bretz Nightclub, R House, Blush and Ripcord.
Noon to 4 p.m.: Sunday Funday at Owens Community College
(All times and events subject to change.)