"Are you going to Pride?" You've probably heard this question a lot this month. That's because, in recent years, Columbus has become almost legendary for its annual Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade and Festival, which takes over much of the Short North, Goodale Park and Downtown this weekend.
"Are you going to Pride?"
You've probably heard this question a lot this month. That's because, in recent years, Columbus has become almost legendary for its annual Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade and Festival, which takes over much of the Short North, Goodale Park and Downtown this weekend. The 33-year-old festival is one of the largest Pride events in the Midwest, and last year, the weekend-long event drew more than 400,000 people who marched, cheered and watched from the sidewalks.
In other words, whether you are a proud member of the LGBTQ community, a new (and nervous) member of the LGBTQ community, a friend of someone in the LGBTQ community, or an ally, this is one summer festival definitely worth your time. The theme of this year's event is "Be the Change."
There are so many Pride-related events - official and unofficial - happening this week around town, but here are five things you won't want to miss.The Parade
This has been a landmark year for marriage equality across the country. With a Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges) expected any day now, it's a big coup that the organizers of the Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade and Festival were able to snag Jim Obergefell himself as the parade's grand marshal. Obergefell's struggle to get his name listed as the surviving spouse on the death certificate of his late husband, John Arthur, sent the issue of marriage equality all the way to the Supreme Court, where it was argued on April 28. Come watch as he kicks off what promises to be a big, bright and bold spectacle of a parade, which starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 20, at S. Front St. and W. Broad, and ends at Goodale Park.Live music at the Festival
This year's Pride Festival features a packed lineup of local and national music acts, so much so there's literally music in the air throughout the entire festival. Highlights include Columbus resident Sam Tolson, 23, who will perform songs from her first album, Dream, which is gaining traction online and on the concert circuit, from 5-7 p.m. Friday, June 19, at the Shelterhouse Stage, along with other young musicians; Auntie, a musical exploration/collaboration between local singer-songwriters Maria Levitov and Counterfeit Madison, will perform at 3:40 p.m. Saturday, June 20, on the Gazebo Stage; and Michelle Chamuel, who came in second place on season four of "The Voice," will rock out with songs from her new album, Face the Fire, on the Shelterhouse Stage at 9 p.m. Friday, June 19.All the Drag!
Axis (775 N. High St., Short North) will be hopping with drag queens at the largest official after-Pride dance party on Saturday, June 20. Unity Ball 14 will take place inside the club, with Drag-a-Palooza happening simultaneously outside, beginning at 6 p.m. Drag-a-Palooza will host live performances by special guests Michelle Visage, Chad Michaels (as Cher), and Nina West. If drag kings are more your speed, don't miss Wall Street's Annual Drag King Pride Showcase at 7 p.m. Friday, June 19 at Wall Street Night Club (144 N. Wall St., Downtown), with the Royal Renegades, the Velvet Hearts, the Kings of Columbus, the Vaudaires, guest emcee Viva Valezz and more.Bat n'Rouge
Nina West and Virginia West will host the Columbus Lesbian and Gay Softball Association (CLGSA)'s 30th annual drag softball event, Bat n'Rouge, at noon Sunday, June 21 at Dodge Park (667 Sullivant Ave., Franklinton). The charity fundraiser supports Stonewall Columbus, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, ARC Ohio and CLGSA, and other special guests will include the 97.9 WNCI Morning Zoo and NBC4's Monica Day.Teen village and human foosball
The newest additions to the Pride Festival are Teen Village and the neighboring Human Foosball field. Located near the Goodale Park entrance, Teen Village, a safe space for 13- to 19-year-old Pride goers, will feature young performers on the Shelterhouse Stage on Friday afternoon and refreshments, a fashion show, a resource fair, arts and crafts activities, face painting and temporary Pride tattoos on Saturday afternoon. A few feet away, you can participate in a human version of foosball, the popular table football game.