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Youngstown Pride celebrates Mahoning Valley diversity
Youngstown--More than a festival, the Youngstown Pride Celebration is an annual commemoration of the rich diversity of the Mahoning Valley.
Hosted by Pride Youngstown, it provides the LGBT and allied community with a chance to come together, united, to promote peace and understanding, and to educate the rest of the community about the importance of diversity, tolerance, and equality.
This year’s celebration is over three days, Friday, June 29 through Sunday, July 1, with a parade and festival, reception and community picnic.
The festival is back on streets of downtown Youngstown on Federal Street. Local writer and performer Robert Joki has been named the Grand Marshal of the 2012 Youngstown Pride Parade.
On Friday, June 29, there will be a casual open reception starting at 6 pm at the Mahoning County Democratic Party headquarters, 3321 Mahoning Avenue. Awards will be given out and refreshments served. Admission is $5.
The Pride parade is on Saturday, June 30, starting at 12 noon. Line-up for the parade begins at 10 am on Woodland at Market Street. The parade route is over the Market Street Bridge and straight through Central Square. Parade watchers will not be disappointed with the display of color, costumes and music at the Pride parade.
The festival will open its gates at 12:30 pm. It will offer a variety of great food, rainbow and merchandise vendors. There will be two entertainment stages featuring live music and entertainment, along with a beer tent. Admission to the festival will be $1.
VIP seating is available on Saturday at the festival for an additional charge.
The official Pride After-Party will light up the square with dancing in the street from 9 pm until 2 am Saturday night. Admission is $5.
A Family Picnic on Sunday, July 1 will be held at the B&O Station Park from 1 to 6 pm. Free hotdogs, pop and chips will be provided to the first 300 people. Music and entertainment for the family and face painting for the kids will fill the park. Families are urged to pack a basket and bring games to play. The picnic is coordinated by Youth Pride, a gay-straight alliance of local teens ages 16-19. Admission to the picnic is free.
The list of entertainers for the festival confirmed for the weekend includes singers Mashorell Johnson (local X-Factor finalist), Rob Joki, Nikita Jones, Sterling Anderson, Craig Conrad, True Colors, Angel Lopez; comedian Rebecca Maher, and local DJ J Stevens. Drag performer extraordinaire Denise Russell is joined by other local drag performers and from Cleveland Teddy Michael and the Ohio All-Stars. Also appearing at the festival will be Dominique Paramore, Chicahominy Fancy Dancers, a Native American dance troupe, and youth bands Big Ginge & the Nobodies, and Face Cards.
All inquiries for the parade, volunteering or in entertaining or vending can be directed to 330-5184718 for more information or by checking the website www.prideyoungstown.org.
Anita Davis is a board member of Pride Youngstown.