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June 18 , 2010

Cincinnati Pride is on the Fourth of July this year

Cincinnati--Pride in the Queen City has seen a tumultuous few years. At times, it looked like Cincinnati Pride would cease to be, as the old guard tried to leave but no young Turks stepped up to take their place.

Then the Cincinnati LGBT Center stepped in and ran things for a few years, but that was only meant to be a stopgap measure to keep Pride alive.

Now, the festival finds new hands at the rudder once again, as the Gay Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati has taken the helm, pushing Cincinnati Pride into the future as Equinox Cincinnati: Pride 2010.

Another startling change is the date: instead of an early June festival and parade, Equinox is moving Pride into July, celebrating the birth of the modern LGBT rights movement the same day as the birth of the nation.

The weekend of festivities begins with the Equinox Kickoff Happy Hour on Friday, July 2 at Tonic, 127 West Fourth St., from 5 to 7 pm, then continues with a 9 pm pub crawl with three shuttles taking people to 19 bars at 15 stops in Northside, downtown Cincinnati and northern Kentucky.

On Saturday, it�s the Equinox Funzone at Fountain Square from 11 am to 3 pm. Wear your bathing suit, because it�s going to be a wet one!

There will be a bounce-house and slide for kids, a giant Twister game and inflatable Slip and Slide, an obstacle course, HRC dunking booth, Equality Cincinnati hot dogs and snow cones, food and drink and music by DJ Chris Mercier.

That night is the Equinox Women�s Party at Yadda Club in Covington, Kentucky, a Bear Party at 701 Bar on Bakewell Street in Covington, and the Equinox Luau Cookout at On Broadway Bar. All three events begin at 3 pm, and the Pride Interfaith Worship Service begins at 4 pm at St. John�s Unitarian Universalist Church on Resor Avenue, just so the early parade the next day doesn�t interfere with spiritual devotion.

At 10 pm, it�s time for the Equinox Ball featuring DJ Escape and Kristine W., a dance party that will shake Cincinnati into the Ohio River. Held at the Duke Energy Center, tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the door.

Finally, on Sunday, July 4, the main event begins with the Pride Parade and Festival. The parade begins lining up at 9:30 am at Fifth and Sentinel, then will head west on Fifth to Race. Step-off is at 11 am.

The parade will be led by this year�s grand marshals, including LGBT community fundraising diva Doris Marks Callis, tireless advocate Michael Cottrell (better known as Brooklyn Steele-Tate - nobody really knows which will show up for the parade!), Equality Cincinnati co-founder Karen Aronoff-Holtmeier, and On Broadway owner Randy Bridges, who held one of the city�s first AIDS fundraisers back in the early 1980s.

The festival begins in and around Fountain Square as the parade ends, with the entertainment stage, dance floor, bars and seating in the square, vendor and organizational booths on Fifth between Vine and Walnut.

This year�s entertainment, scaled back from previous years� two-day music festivals, include the Imperial Sovereign Queen City Court of the Buckeye Empire, the Cincinnati Men�s Chorus, aerial acrobatics from Jamming Talent, the intense music of the Tracy Walker Band, New York City�s Adam Joseph, and dance diva Deborah Cox.

For more information about Equinox, go to www.equinoxcincinnati.com.

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