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January 30, 2009

Cleveland Pride returns to June 20, same day as Columbus

Cleveland--The city’s Pride celebrations have been returned to their traditional third Saturday this June.

The parade and festival had been rescheduled for June’s fourth Saturday this year, to avoid conflict with the Columbus Pride events.

The capital’s celebration, usually on the month’s final weekend, is one week earlier for 2009 because of construction at the Bicentennial Park festival site. The festival was moved to Goodale Park, the traditional parade start-off point, which will not be available on June 27.

But discussions with city officials revealed that the Cleveland festival site, downtown’s Voinovich Park on Lake Erie, is also not available that day, because a wine festival cannot change its date.

So, both the Cleveland and Columbus Pride parades and festivals will be on the same day, Saturday, June 20.

Cleveland Pride president Todd Saporito does not view this as a negative, though. He has been speaking with Karla Rothan, the executive director of Stonewall Columbus which sponsors the Pride events there.

“We’re going to place a positive spin on the fact that Ohio will be celebrating Pride in both cities on the same weekend,” Saporito said.

Traditionally, Columbus draws some people from Cleveland, but not a very large number. A bigger concern is people in smaller communities like Mansfield, Lima, Sandusky and Toledo, who must choose between the two festivals and parades.

“The diversity within Cleveland’s LGBT community mirrors the diverse events being held in Cleveland and statewide that same day,” reads the Cleveland Pride announcement of the date. “By working together instead of competing with these other organizations, we can ensure a good time and healthy attendance at all of the events on June 20.”

This year’s theme for Cleveland Pride will be “Equality,” according to the release.

Last year’s festival suffered from heavy rain in the late afternoon, but Cleveland Pride’s insurance coverage put the organization back in the black, financially.

Even participants whose booths had to close prematurely were impressed by the numbers at last year’s festival, like Steve Brown of Shoparooni in Cleveland’s Waterloo Arts District.

At the time the rainstorm hit, he had just recouped the cost of his booth, but even without further sales on that day, he received numerous calls in the following weeks from people who had seen the booth at the festival.

The other Pride festivals last year also had their problems with rain, pretty much across the board.

Columbus is not the only Pride event changing its date. To avoid competition with a near neighbor, Dayton Pride is moving their entire celebration to the first week in June.

Normally, their festival is on the first weekend and the Pride dinner is on the third weekend. Now, the dinner will be on Wednesday, June 3, with the festival on Saturday, June 6.

Cincinnati’s two-day musical Pride festival will be on the second weekend, June 13 and 14. 

This material is copyrighted by the Gay People’s Chronicle. Permission is given only to repost the headline, byline, and one or two paragraphs, with the full name of the Gay People’s Chronicle and a link to the full article on our website. Reproduction of the entire article is prohibited without specific written permission.


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