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June 13, 2008

Weather cant dampen the seasons first Pride event

Dayton--The first celebration of Pride month in Ohio suffered from an unceasing rain on June 7, but the mood was bright and sunny regardless.

“It rained the entire time,” said Dayton LGBT Center president Vicki Hahn. “When we were packed up, ready to leave, it finally cleared up, but it was a good day nonetheless.”

With local luminaries like Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mary Wiseman, Dayton School Board member Joe Lacey and Montgomery County Treasurer Carolyn Rice, the first half of Dayton’s annual Pride celebrations made a strong showing, honoring the theme “It’s About Freedom.”

“Everybody just . . . they weren’t willing to give up the day of celebration just because of a little rain,” Hahn noted.

“The air was certainly damp, but that did not dampen the spirits of those who attended,” said Randy Phillips of www.GayDayton.org. “While waiting for the rain to subside a bit and the next event to start, many spontaneously broke out in dancing.”

In addition to the political figures--Lacey was the grand marshal of the parade--entertainment also included the Rainbow City Marching Band from Cincinnati and the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, as well as many drag performers.

“A lot of local bars always send groups of drag queens and drag kings to perform, so we had a whole group of those entertainers onstage,” Hahn recalled.

Even after the festival, which had around 35 vendor booths running the gamut from churches to businesses to non-profits, the party didn’t end.

“All of the local bars had Pride events that they were hosting at their establishments, so the evening went beyond that, well into the morning,” she enthused.

The day saw the second annual Dayton Pride commitment ceremony. About 30 people participated in the service presented by local clergy, led by Rev. Mark Pridmore of Eternal Joy MCC.

For Hahn, though, the most memorable moment of the day came not despite the rain, but because of it.

“The one thing that was really interesting was when I was on stage, everyone had umbrellas, and the colors of the umbrellas were just awesome to me,” she recalled.

The Gem City’s LGBT community has much to be proud of this year, not the least of which is the work being done on the new Dayton LGBT Center.

New center under construction

People walked around Pride with yellow plastic hard hats, symbolizing the work being done to renovate an old warehouse in the “Gay Quadrant.” The building, at 117 East Third Street, is between Club Masque and MJ’s Café, and is also near Aquarius, the Right Corner and the Stage Door, all of which are off a central parking lot.

Hahn anticipates that the new building will be fully functioning by the new year.

“It was a pretty rough space, but it had just tons of possibilities,” she said. “There’s going to be a large ballroom-meeting area, kitchenette, reception area.”

“We’re hoping we can move functions like the Valentine’s Dance to the new center, as well as other kinds of programs,” she continued.

Hahn also pointed to creative fundraising ideas like the 99 Club. Those who donate $120 a year, even as $10 per month payments, can participate, and it allows them to use center facilities for this personal events in addition to giving them center membership.

“It’s going to be a really, really nice space, and it’s about time we had one,” Hahn concluded.

The Dayton Pride festivities continue next weekend with a dinner and expo on the evening of June 21 at Sinclair Community College’s Ponitz Center.

 

 


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