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Cincinnati Pride cancels June 26 parade for COVID-19 safety

2018 Cincinnati Pride Parade
2018 Cincinnati Pride Parade
PHOTOS: Cincinnati Pride 2016
Posted at 11:03 AM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 11:03:03-05

CINCINNATI — Pride isn’t canceled, but it will be quieter this year.

Cincinnati Pride’s board of directors announced Monday that its hallmark event, the Cincinnati Pride Festival and Parade, cannot take place in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know these events are very important to our community,” chair Benjamin Morano wrote in a news release. “However, our main consideration is and always will be the health and safety of all attendees and volunteers. … We felt it was important to decide now before our community’s planning and eventual disappointment continue to grow.”

The parade had been scheduled for June 26, making Monday’s cancellation one of the earliest of the year.

Some local Pride celebrations will still happen in the form of “very small socially-distanced experiences and events,” Morano continued. Others — still in the planning stage as of Monday — will take place online.

He recommended that people mourning the loss of the parade or otherwise struggling with their mental health seek out his organization’s list of local resources, which includes groups that focus on suicide prevention, sobriety and health care for LGBTQ people.

“We know there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Morano wrote. “Until we come out on the other side, we must all continue to do our part and act responsibly. Wear a mask. Wash and sanitize your hands frequently. Respect the personal space of those around you. Get vaccinated if you can do so. Be sure to call, text, or video chat with your loved ones if only to let them know they haven’t been forgotten.”

Although multiple COVID-19 vaccines now exist, allowing Ohio to launch its vaccination campaign in January, the country’s extremely limited supply of vaccine doses means large public gatherings such as the Pride parade — which draws about 100,000 attendees annually — may not be feasible until late in the year.

Bunbury Music Festival, another large summer event in Cincinnati, canceled its June 6-8 run on Jan. 11; others, including the Ohio State Fair, remain technically scheduled despite the uncertainty surrounding their planned dates.