Whether you attend as a community member or ally, you will always remember your first Pride, and the combination of anticipation, anxiety, uncertainty and blissful excitement such an event often evokes. We drew on our own experiences - as well as the experiences of community officials, organizers, members and allies - and came up with these tips to help make your first Pride memorable - in the best possible way.

Whether you attend as a community member or ally, you will always remember your first Pride, and the combination of anticipation, anxiety, uncertainty and blissful excitement such an event often evokes. We drew on our own experiences - as well as the experiences of community officials, organizers, members and allies - and came up with these tips to help make your first Pride memorable - in the best possible way.

Do your research. "Nervousness is something that happens when we encounter the unknown," said Shawn Copeland, lead organizer for Equality Ohio. "Take some time to read up on the LGBTQ community - its history and multifaceted nature. Realize that Pride is a celebration and space for a marginalized community to be open."

Plan ahead. The festivities for Pride are almost exclusively outdoors so expect and be prepared for all weather possibilities. Wear comfortable clothing, drink lots of water, apply lots of sunscreen, and practice general safety guidelines.

Dress the part. Lots of local businesses are selling special Pride merchandise this week, so stock up and proudly sport your most supportive apparel during the parade and festival. For example, Homage is selling equality-themed "Change the Game" tees and tanks online and in stores; Traxler Tees has "Pride Till I Die" tees on sale; and Local Liberation has its popular "HOMOHIO" line of LGBTQ-themed apparel.

Beat the traffic. If at all possible, use public transportation, walk or bike to the parade and festival. Parking is hard enough in the Short North on a typical weekend, so you can imagine how difficult it will be to find a spot during one of the biggest events of the year. You can park downtown or in German Village and ride the CBUS to the festival, or, if you don't want to deal with transportation at all, make your Pride a staycation experience and book a room at one of the many hotels in or near the parade route. If you do drive, plan your exit strategy in advance.

Be an early bird. Want to secure a prime parade viewing spot that's not far from the festival area? Head to Downtown or the Short North for an early morning breakfast on Saturday and enjoy the people-watching as a bonus. Whether you are newly out or a Pride veteran, there's nothing like enjoying the company of thousands of other queer-identified people from all over the country in one neighborhood.

Charge your phone. It may seem obvious but make sure your phone is charged to 100 percent before hitting the parade, because nothing drains a battery faster than taking a ton of photos and texting your friends for their ever-changing locations. Better yet, make a concrete plan to find your friends in case you lose one another during the excitement.

Be sensitive. In this day and age it's hard to suppress the urge to document every moment of our lives on social media. However, it's important to remember that not everyone is out - or wants to be photographed and tagged at Pride. So think twice before snapping and sharing someone's photo, and when in doubt, ask permission.

On a similar note, don't make assumptions. Allies: Copeland said it is important to remember that at Pride, "People will be presenting their gender and identity in many different ways. Do take time to understand the community you're entering, including the political roadblocks the community faces. For example, while marriage is a huge issue for the lesbian and gay community, there are still many states where ... individuals can be fired for being gay or transgender."

Volunteer. This festival and many of the nonprofits participating in it rely heavily on the help of volunteers. So sign up and support whatever cause speaks to your heart.

Have fun! The most important thing to remember, according to Karla Rothan, executive director of Stonewall Columbus, is to "just enjoy the day." If you are friends with someone in our community and want to be an ally, she added, "March with them. Tell them 'Happy Pride!' Tell them you support them … and stand up to your friends who talk badly about people who are gay."