Pride Holiday celebrates its silver anniversary
Columbus--Celebrating Pride Holiday�s silver anniversary will give the festivities an added sheen this year, as Pride Month climaxes with the parade and festival on June 24.
Surrounded by over a dozen events, the Stonewall Columbus Pride Holiday is a familiar favorite, drawing ever-increasing crowds along the streets of downtown Columbus to watch the parade heading from Goodale Park to Bicentennial Park.
The parade will line up in Goodale Park in Victorian Village, and steps off at 1 pm.
Stonewall Columbus keeps the exact route quiet to throw off anti-gay protesters, but the parade almost invariably heads south on High Street from the Short North, giving the crowds by the Statehouse and City Center Mall great views of the action on the floats.
The festival site opens at 11 am, and by the time the last of the marchers and spectators from the parade land at the park, on the Scioto River between Main and Town Streets, the fun should be in full swing.
Headlining the entertainment at the festival will be Lisa Lisa, the chanteuse from �80s genre-bending stars Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. Best known for their hits �Head to Toe� and �Lost in Emotion,� Lisa Velez went solo when the band broke up in 1991.
Her dancers will provide a visual display as exciting as Lisa Lisa�s vocals.
Other national performers on the Pride stage include Eric Himan, the tattooed love-god of guitar-wielding indie rock, blues songstress Gaye Adegbalola will Roddy Barnes, Tucson�s acoustic ace Namoli Brennet and Minnesota blues singer-songwriter Trina Hamlin.
Local performers will also grace the stage, presenting sets worthy of the throngs who will be there to hear and see them.
Habeeba�s Dance of the Arts returns to Pride, bringing belly dancing to the masses and a taste of the East to the Midwest.
The Columbus Gay Men�s Chorus and the Columbus Women�s Chorus will also perform on the Pride stage. It is a great opportunity for those who missed the men�s chorus� �That 70s Concert� to catch them live. The women�s chorus did not have a June concert, so it will be the first chance to catch them since May 13, when they presented �Everything�s Coming Up Roses: Broadway the Broad�s Way.�
Rounding out the entertainment is the Columbus Stompers, award-winning country-western dance troupe. The group brought home the gold in the Medley division at the 12th annual International Association of Gay and Lesbian Country-Western Dance Clubs convention last July in Dallas.
Of course, the day after Pride is almost as busy as Pride Holiday itself.
First, there is the Pride Blues Brunch at the Hyatt Regency, 350 North High Street, denoted the official hotel of the 2006 Pride Holiday.
Roddy Barnes does double duty this weekend, after having performed on Saturday with Gaye Adegbalola, he now performs with Deb� at the 11 am brunch.
Tickets are $35, $50 for preferred or corporate seating, and are available by calling 614-9302262.
Of course, perhaps the social event of Pride Weekend is Bat �n� Rouge, the drag softball game that everyone must see! Gates open at noon for the 3 pm game, and seating is limited. Admission is $7, and well worth it.
Bat �n� Rouge is held at Mohawk Field at the Africentric School, at the corner of Livingston and Grant Avenues.
Few annual events last until their 25th birthday, but at the rate the Stonewall Columbus Pride Holiday is going, expect a big article on their 100th anniversary in 2081.�