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The Columbus Pride Parade and Festival is an annual event held in Columbus, Ohio around the middle of June. As Ohio has extremely cold winters, it is a relief that the gay pride celebrations habitually take place in June, meaning party enthusiasts can benefit from the warm weather and celebrate their pride in relaxed, summer attire. Stonewall Columbus, Inc. started the event as a way to raise awareness of the gay culture in Ohio, and to give visitors and locals alike an outlet for their pride.
Since starting in 1981, the event only grew in size with each passing year. While only a few hundred people turned out for the first parade, the 2014 event saw more than 300,000 people participate. Organizers estimated that the 2017 Columbus Pride Festival saw more than 350,000 people join in the celebration. In terms of numbers and participants, the only larger gay festival in the Midwest is the one in Chicago, Illinois.
The 2019 event will mark the 38th edition of Columbus Pride. It runs for an entire weekend, with festivities kicking off on Friday afternoon and running through to late Sunday afternoon. Some of the fun that visitors can experience include dancing in the streets, enjoying cold drinks at local bars, and meeting new friends.
Scheduled for Friday, June 14 through to Sunday, June 16, 2019, this year's Pride Parade is set to be one of the largest and most exciting around. The festivities will kick off at 4pm on Friday and run until 11pm that night. Though the festival shuts down at 11pm, you'll find plenty of exciting activities taking place in and around the city until the wee hours of Saturday morning.
You may want to get some sleep to make sure that you don't miss the Columbus Pride Parade the next morning. This parade starts on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at 10:30am. It begins at the corner of High Street and Goodale Park and moves around the park before working its way down High Street. The parade route makes a turn at Broad Street and ends on Washington Boulevard, right next to Genoa Park. The route makes it easy for participants to find their way back to the fun at the end of the day.
Though the parade does not yet have a list of honorees or participants, it will likely include some famous LGBTQ faces. The parade includes a small number of floats and thousands of people walking together in large and small groups. If you prefer watching the action from the sidelines, get to the route as early as possible to grab a decent seat. Some of the best places to view the parade are along High Street.
The weekend-long event will bring more to the city than just the Columbus Pride Festival. Scheduled for Sunday, June 16 is a brunch that starts at 11am and runs until 1pm. It is recommended to reserve a table in advance because they often run out of seats, and we’d hate you to miss out. You can buy an individual seat for $55 if you're a member of Stonewall or for $50 if you're a senior or a student. The organizers also offer tables that can seat up to 10 people. In addition to brunch at the Columbus Athenaeum, you can also enjoy the musical stylings of The Richard Lopez Trio with special guest Debra Tucker.
As more than 320,000 people turned out for the 2018 festivities, organizers believe that 2019 will be even larger. They estimate an attendance of 350,000 to 400,000 people. Some of the sponsors of the Columbus Festival 2019 include American Electric Power, Red Bull, Bud Light and Strawberry Fields.