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June 19, 2009

 

Cincinnati and Dayton fill two weekends with Pride

Cincinnati--A two-day festival of music and performance marked Cincinnati Pride on June 13 and 14, while Dayton’s Pride celebration expanded to a week of events that will actually stretch on until the end of the month.

Instead of having the Pride festival on the first Saturday and then the Pride Dinner on the third Saturday as they have in past years, Dayton Pride mixed things up, having the dinner, with guests Poppy Champlin and Malcolm Lazin, on June 3 and the festival on June 6.

The Rubi Girls and AIDS Resource Center Ohio were honored at the dinner for their work in the Miami Valley LGBT community.

Champlin, a comedian, performed for the crowd, and Lazin, organizer of the Equality Forum in Philadelphia, gave the keynote address.

The parade and festival were described as “record-setting” for the Dayton events, and came the day after Pride Night on the Quad brought a block-party atmosphere to the area around the LGBT center.

The parade was the largest yet for Dayton, and the festival featured local performers giving their all.

Pride Month will wrap up with a picnic at Irelan Park in Kettering on June 28, organized by gay-friendly religious groups around the area. The picnic will begin at 2 pm, and hot dogs and hamburgers will be provided. Guests are asked to bring a dish to share.

Cincinnati, whose Pride festival and parade predate Dayton’s, packed the weekend of June 13 and 14 with music and friendship.

This year’s line-up brought between 15,000 and 18,000 people out to Hoffner Park, and the parade had 77 entries, larger than last year.

“Last year, the Saturday festival was kind of dead,” said Pride chair Bill Abney. “But this year it was much more well-attended. I really think that was due to the entertainment.”

“We had several different bands,” he continued. “We also had Jason Stuart, who was great.”

Saturday’s festivities began with Enguard, Cincinnati’s independent color guard and dance team, before emcee Quasi was introduced. Along the course of the day, the crowds were entertained by ballet troupe Folie a Trois, the Queen City Rainbow Band’s jazz band, Queen B, Quasi, grunge band Pike, retro-rockers Perfect Electric, Jason Stuart, electronic duo Perpetual Ritual and vocalist Frederick Ford.

On Sunday, the festivities began with a pep rally in Burnet Woods before the parade made its way to Hoffner Park. Penny Tration emceed the parade, and then the performers on Sunday kept the crowd going all day long.

Muse, the Cincinnati women’s chorus, opened the performance schedule, and was followed by the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, Pride Queen Krystal Kurler, Pride King Seymour Cox, another performance by Frederick Ford, headliners God-des and She, DJ Maurice Harris, the Lixgood Family and Black Mondays.

“Sunday, we had some thunderstorms, but we were able to work past that,” Abney said. He credited keeping God-des and She until late in the schedule with part of the day’s success.

“They’re very well-known from being on The L Word,” he said, noting that a lot of people stayed to see them and they seemed to connect well with both lesbians and gay men.

“I’m so glad we were able to bring them,” he concluded.

He pointed to the variety of people from different organizations who were involved in planning this year’s festival, noting that representatives from Impact Cincinnati, HRC and the gay-straight alliances at both Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati.

One thing Abney would really like to see next year is even more people volunteering to help plan the event. While the Cincinnati GLBT Center has been organizing it for the last few years, it is not the center’s only, or even primary, responsibility.

“They need to realize the center is very limited in its manpower and needs help to do that,” he said.

He also noted that people should volunteer early if they want their input to be heard in the planning process.

“We start planning about a year before it happens,” he said. “If you truly want to have input and be involved, people need to step up and not assume the community center will do it.”

 


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