Parade will kick off Pride Festival
The fourth annual Youngstown Pride Festival and Parade will be Saturday on East Federal Street, between Market and Walnut streets, downtown.
The festival is an opportunity for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community and its allies to come together to promote peace, understanding, tolerance and equality.
The event will begin with a parade at noon on Woodland Avenue on the South Side. It will march down Market Street, across the Market Street Bridge, and end at the festival site at Central Square.
Robert Joki, the director of Rust Belt Theater Company and a playwright and actor, is the grand marshall of the parade.
“Parade watchers will not be disappointed with the display of color, costumes and music,” said event organizer Anita Davis in a news release.
A highlight will be a commitment ceremony with 10 area couples at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The ceremony takes the place of a wedding because gay marriage is not legal in Ohio. It will be officiated by Cleveland minister the Rev. Detra Evans.
There also will be a memorial service at midnight Saturday to honor gay people who have been killed in the area.
The festival will offer a variety of food, a beer tent, merchandise and entertainment. Admission is $1, with VIP seating available.
The list of entertainers includes “the saxstress” Pamela Williams, the fancy dancers of the Chickahominy tribe of native Americans; Mazhorell Johnson, Joki, Nikita Jones, Sterling Anderson, Craig Conrad, True Colors, Angel Lopez, comedian Rebecca Maher, local DJ J Steven; drag performers Denise Russell, DeAisia Daniells, Teddy Michael and the Ohio All-Stars and Trinity Vine; spoken-word artist Dominique Paramore; and youth bands Big Ginge & the Nobodies and Face Cards.
After the festival, the Pride after-party and glamour ball will take over the festival grounds with dancing in the street from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. Admission is $5.
Pride Festival weekend will begin Friday with a reception at the Mahoning County Democratic Party Headquarters, 3321 Mahoning Ave. Admission is $5.
The weekend will wrap up Sunday with a free family picnic from 1 to 6 p.m. on the grounds of B&O Station park. Free hot dogs, pop and chips will be provided to the first 300 people. The picnic also will include live music and entertainment for families and face painting for children. To volunteer or for information, contact Anita Davis at 330-518-4718, or go to prideyoungstown.org.