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Columbus Pride has two days of fun in Goodale Park
Columbus--“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are . . .”
That is how the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence begins, a promise that, for so many throughout the history of this nation has proven hollow. For women, for African Americans, for LGBT people, for so many others, the next two words were forgotten for years, decades, if not centuries.
Those next two words are also the theme of this year’s Columbus Pride, “Created Equal.” This year’s festival includes two days of entertainment at Goodale Park, on Friday, June 20 from 4 pm to 11 pm, and on Saturday, June 21 from 11 am to 8 pm. The parade steps off on Saturday at 11 am from downtown Columbus, then heads up High Street to the festival at Goodale Park.
This year’s grand marshal will have to get used to the slow speed of parade vehicles, being accustomed to traveling at warp speed. George Takei, openly gay actor, activist, and childhood resident of the relocation camps created by the government for Japanese and Japanese-Americans in World War II. Takei has lived a long and storied life, and his bass “Oh, myyy” has become an internet meme. He also boasts possibly the funniest profile on Facebook.
At the festival, two stages of performers will entertain crowds over the course of the two days. On Friday, the Gazebo Stage hosts Pass the Mic Karaoke with Bob and Jon Billy Theiss at 5:30 pm, followed by the Somewhats at 8 pm, an alternative band from Columbus.
After that, the punk band Scratches come with their three singers armed with guitars and alternating lead vocals, even doing three-part harmony at times, dubbed “barbershop punk.”
Following them, three-piece off-kilter band McCallister take the stage at 10 pm, wrapping up the night’s entertainment.
Over at the Shelterhouse Stage, the Ft. Hayes Music Students being the afternoon at 4 pm, following by Dasan Valentine, the pop-soul artist with an over four-octave range.
He will be followed by alt-pop band Liberty Deep Down, who take the stage at 5:30 pm, before Brooke Cartus’ multifarious talents take center stage.
Then comes Alex Newell, who has been performing since he was a small child, and afterwards, the female-fronted rock band Fresh Wreckage take the stage with powerful vocals and blazing guitars.
At 8:30 pm, the Crystal Bowersox Band’s roots music will fill the air, and the stage wraps up for the night with the Professors’ collection of classics from the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Byrds, the Animals and more.
On Saturday, the Gazebo Stage kicks off with the Pink Flamingos and their classic alternative-punk flair at noon. They are followed at 1:30 pm by the Columbus Women’s Chorus and then the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus. The Columbus Stompers bring their country-western dance stylings to the stage before the attention goes to Park Street for performances by the Capital Pride Band and Flaggots Ohio.
At 3 pm, the action returns to the Gazebo Stage with a performance by Sam Muccio, Alexis Antes and Tracy Walker, representing the three big Cs in Ohio--Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati. After they leave the stage, it will be conquered by the Urban Pride Choir, before the stage closes out for the year with Hit M Ent’s We Are the Movement Summer Jam.
Now, while all of this would have been enough in and of itself, don’t forget that the Shelterhouse Stage has also been filled for the day, starting at noon with Tenn Fiction, a movable dance party masterminded by Bob Dawson. He’ll be followed by Counterfeit Madison, the grandchild of James Brown and Kurt Cobain.
At 2:30 pm, founding member of Saffire Gay Adegbalola and Wild Rutz (Gloria Jackson, Tanyah Cotton and Marta Fuentes) will hit the stage. They will be followed by Sneak Peaks featuring Todd Berry, Josh Zuckerman and Kelly Zullo at 3:30 pm.
The comes stilt-walking company the Amazing Giants, Columbus faves the Fabulous Johnson Brothers, and Beverly McClellan and Vicci Martinez.
Closing out the night will be Winslow, winner of the Hard Rock Rising Cleveland Battle of the Bands and the Ohio Local Music Award for Best Headlining Band, funking up the place with dirty guitar riffs and a sound that would be equally at home in the ’70s and right now.
The fun doesn’t end with the last band, though. George Takei will also be the guest of honor at the annual Pride Brunch on Sunday at 11 am in the Columbus Athenaeum, 32 North 4th Street. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and are $50 for Stonewall Columbus members, $55 for the general public.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be Columbus Pride without Bat ’n’ Rouge, the annual drag softball game organized by the Columbus Lesbian and Gay Softball Association supporting Stonewall Columbus, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, ARC Ohio and the softball league.
Gates open at noon for the 29th annual game, with the first pitch going out at 3 pm. The event will be hosted by Nina West and Virginia West, with special guest Chi Chi LaRue and other performers.
The game will be at Dodge Park, 667 Sullivant Avenue in Columbus, and more information is available at www.clgsa.com/events/bat-n-rouge.
More information about Columbus Pride or any attendant events can be found at www.columbuspride.org.