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Full Spectrum Pride swells

Musician and singer Kat Fitzgerald, who performs as Crash the Great will be the grand marshal for the Full Spectrum Pride in the Valley Festival on Saturday in downtown Warren.

Full Spectrum Pride in the Valley Festival continues to grow in its fifth year.

This year’s event takes place Saturday in downtown Warren’s Courthouse Square. Organizers added two hours to Saturday’s event and offered additional activities leading up to the festival itself,

“It’s gotten much bigger,” said Tim Bortner, president and founder of Full Spectrum Community Outreach, which stages the event for the LGBTQ+ community. “The parade is bigger. We have over 100 vendors, which is more than we normally had in the past and more sponsors. We’re one of the largest pride festivals in the area.”

Lead up events have included an interfaith LGBTQ+ panel at Universalist Church of Youngstown, a Queeraoke night at Westside Bowl in Youngstown, a game night and inclusion training.

Organizers will have a free movie night with popcorn and cotton candy in Courthouse Park at 8 p.m. Friday (Full Spectrum is letting people vote for the movie on its social media accounts so the film hasn’t been selected yet). There is a kick-off party and drag show Friday at Modern Methods Brewing Company in downtown Warren and an after party Saturday night at Club Switch in Youngstown.

Saturday’s event starts with a parade around Courthouse Square at noon. This year’s grand marshal is Kat Fitzgerald, a singer-songwriter and musician who performs as Crash the Great. Their CD, “A New Name,” will be released next month.

Entertainment throughout the day will include several drag shows, including Sassy Sascha, Denise Russell and a drag extravaganza starting at 8 p.m. organized by Starlett O’Hara, the drag persona of Rust Belt Theater Company founder Robert Dennick Joki, who serves as entertainment coordinator and stage manage for the festival.

“Denise Russell has been in the drag community for over 50 years now and is the only drag queen to perform on the Grand Ole Opry stage,” Bortner said. “She’s done countless events for us.”

This year’s event also will feature an open stage at 4:15 p.m. following the Cleveland Transgender Choir.

“Usually at the end of the festival every year, young kids get on stage and perform,” Bortner said. “We thought to involve everyone in the community, we would have the local people who have some talent come in and perform for everyone instead of at the end when everyone is leaving.”

Bortner credited local support with their ability to continue expanding the event.

“(With) the community stepping up and wanting to be more involved, we have more volunteers than we’ve had in the past,” he said. “It’s growing and it’s getting bigger. Next year it’s going to be bigger and the year after that it will be bigger.”

If you go …

WHAT: Full Spectrum Pride in the Valley Festival

WHEN: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Courthouse Square, West Market Street and North Park Avenue, Warren

HOW MUCH: Admission is free. For more information, call 330-718-1859.

Schedule

Noon — Parade

12:30 p.m. — Opening ceremony

1 p.m. — Show tunes and Showstoppers

2 p.m. — Denise Russell

3 p.m. — Fairy Tales, kid-friendly show featuring songs and stories

4 p.m. — Cleveland Transgender Choir

4:15 p.m. — Open stage

5 p.m — The band Pretty Pretty Awful

6 p.m. — Sassy Hour hosted by Sassy Sascha

7 p.m. — Fire and Flow

8 p.m. — Local Drag Extravaganza

Contact Andy Gray by email at agray@tribtoday.com.

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