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June 15. 2012

A record number of entrants carry Dayton Pride parade

Dayton--Honoring its 25th anniversary, Dayton Pride took over the weekend of June 1, holding the annual Pride Dinner on Friday and the parade and festival the next day.

The dinner included a keynote address by historian and former Dayton LGBT Center board member Leon Bey, entertainment by comedian Vincent Holiday and a screening of the cult film Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The next morning, after a hearty brunch at MJ’s Café, the parade lined up at 11 am, stepping off an hour later before wending its way through downtown Dayton to Courthouse Square. Participants and marchers were met by around 2,200 people in the square.

Cars, people on feet and even some in horse-drawn carriages combined for a record number of entrants in the Dayton Pride Parade this year.

Montana McDaniel and Amaya Sexton shared hosting duties through the day, with McDaniel taking the first shift and Sexton the second. McDaniel’s duties included introducing Frozen Feet, Adam Mardel and (the) fundamentalists, while Sexton came on to introduce the local drag kings and queens.

There were also nearly 50 vendor, information and food booths at this year’s festival, a sign that the event is increasing in popularity.

“The weather cooperated for a perfect day of celebrations here in Dayton, keeping the crowd with us to the very closing bell,” said Randy Phillips, board member of the Dayton LGBT Center and webmaster of GayDayton.org. “It was truly a gay day.”

The two days were not, however, the beginning or end of Dayton Pride 2012. It began a month earlier with Rooftop Rubi, a Rubi Girls fundraiser for Pride, and continued through the Dayton LGBT Center’s community dinner on May 12, the Family Picnic in Vandalia on Memorial Day and the bar crawl on May 31.

The month will wrap up June 28 with Pride Night at the Neon, with a screening of the documentary Vito, about the life and times of activist and film buff Vito Russo.

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