CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Pride Parade, set for June 25 Downtown, will be the largest in the 43-year history of the event, which celebrates and promotes acceptance of the area’s LGBTQ community, according to event organizers.
“The parade has grown to 150 registered (group) participants,” said Cincinnati Pride co-president Shawn Baker on Friday.
That number was up from just over 100 groups that had signed up for the parade before the June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 49 people dead. Authorities have classified the mass shooting an act of terrorism and a hate crime.
“I have friends of all kinds, people in general, allies in the community asking what they can do to help Pride, what can they do to volunteer,” Baker said. “That’s amazing, really amazing."
The parade is the hallmark of Cincinnati Pride Week, a series of events that kicks off Saturday and culminates with the parade and accompanying festival at Sawyer Point.
Cincinnati Pride Week Events
- 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday: Cincinnati Men’s Chorus Pride Concert: “Voice of the Heart Land at Christ Church Cathedral
- 7 p.m. Monday: Wiggin’ OUT! Annual Staff & Crew Turnabout Show above Below Zero Lounge
- 6:30 p.m. Tuesday: Pride Ride from Fountain Square hosted by the Urban Basin Bicycle Club
- Dusk, Wednesday: Cincinnati Pride/3CDC Movie Night at Washington Park
- 7 p.m. Thursday: Cincinnati Pride InterFaith Service at Truth & Destiny Covenant Ministries Fellowship United Church of Christ
- 6 p.m. Friday: Cincinnati Pride Community Recognition Ceremony at the Contemporary Arts Center
- 11 a.m. June 25: Cincinnati Pride Parade, Downtown, followed by the Cincinnati Pride Festival from noon to 9 p.m. at Sawyer Point
Baker acknowledged that with the increased interest in Pride comes increased concerns. Some people became alarmed when Open Carry Ohio, a group dedicated to defending Second Amendment rights, created an event on Facebook asking gun owners to come armed to the parade.
The Facebook event page states that the group's goal is “engagement and dialogue regarding self-defense, gun rights & privileges.”
Baker said he is in constant discussions about security issues with local and federal law enforcement, all of whom are aware of Open Carry Ohio’s plans.
“It is Cincinnati Pride’s job to promote our community and to make sure we have a very safe event,” he said.
That safety extends to other Pride Week events such as Tuesday’s bicycle ride and Wednesday’s free movie night at Washington Park. Overall, Baker said he expects large turnouts for the entire week and that people will have fun.
He recommended first-time parade watchers snag a seat on Fountain Square for a great view.
“The Opening Day Parade has just under 200 participants,” Baker said. “This will now be the second-largest parade in the city.”