Since its humble beginnings in 1982, the Columbus PRIDE march has evolved into a monumental celebration of love, acceptance, and equality.
Today, the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and March draw in over 700,000 visitors to Columbus and the Central Ohio region, making it one of the largest Pride events in the country.
The festivities kick off at Goodale Park on Friday, June 16, from 4 pm to 10 pm, setting the stage for an unforgettable weekend. The highlight of the event is the Pride March, scheduled to commence at 10:30 am on Saturday, June 17, starting at the corner of Broad and High St.
Goodale Park, the heart of the celebrations, provides an ideal setting for the Pride Festival. It has plenty of shade, giving visitors a chance to revel in the joyous atmosphere without spending too much time under the scorching sun. Additionally, the park boasts wheelchair-friendly paved paths, ensuring inclusivity for all attendees.
For those planning to drive to the festival, don’t expect to rock up to downtown Columbus and find a good spot to leave the car. Parking near the park can be scarce, but fear not, as the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) offers convenient bus services, and CO-GO bikes are readily available for rental.
Of course, the weekend isn’t just about the parade! There’s also the PRIDE Party on the Plaza and the Pride Party at KEMBA Live!
On Saturday, June 17, at 9:00 a.m., Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Convention Center will host the inaugural PRIDE Party on the Plaza. With a general admission ticket priced at $15, attendees will enjoy exclusive viewing access, comfortable seating, an array of yummy food and beverage options, and live entertainment.
Meanwhile, the Pride Party at KEMBA Live! will captivate guests on Friday, June 16, from 8:00 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Hosted by the legendary Virginia West, this event will showcase more than 30 entertainers, including local favorites and queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. The grand finale will feature a show-stopping performance by the one and only, Grag Queen.
For an elevated experience, literally, the Rooftop Drag Show at Budd Dairy Food Hall on Friday, June 16, starting at 5:00 p.m., is a must-see. Revelers will be treated to extraordinary performances by renowned drag artists such as Anisa Love, Boyonce, and Carrie Bustubs against the stunning backdrop of the rooftop at Budd Dairy Food Hall.
The celebration doesn’t stop with the main event. Suburbs surrounding Columbus will continue the Pride festivities into the following weekend. On Saturday, June 24, at 12 p.m., the Rainbow Dublin Pride Walk invites participants to Riverside Crossing Park for an inclusive program that culminates in the annual Pride Walk across the iconic Dublin Link bridge.
Likewise, Reynoldsburg Pride will take place on Saturday, June 24, serving as a community celebration that empowers and raises awareness of the intersecting lives of the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride is a testament to the progress made in fostering diversity and inclusivity in Columbus and beyond. This event symbolizes a united front for love, acceptance, and equality. Whether you choose to march, dance, or simply soak in the vibrant atmosphere, this Pride Festival promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you inspired and empowered.
For more info, visit stonewallcolumbus.org/pride.