STONEWALL COLUMBUS PRIDE 2017 will be held at a NEW LOCATION!
Dates for the event are staying the same, June 16-17, 2017!
The time has come for the second largest LGBTQ Pride festival in the Midwest to return to Downtown Columbus, says Stonewall Executive Director Karla Rothan.
“The Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and Parade is a testament to the diversity and inclusiveness of this great city,” says Ms. Rothan. “It is fitting that we return to the city’s center, a beautiful setting for a beautiful celebration.”
2017 will mark the 36th Pride celebration in Columbus. What began as 3 young men organizing a small march down High Street with scores in attendance has grown into a three-day celebration with over 500,000 attendees. The 2017 celebration will take place on June 16th and 17th.
After eight years in the Short North’s Goodale Park, a move made necessary by the Riverfront redevelopment projects, the 2017 Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival will now take place in Bicentennial and Genoa parks.
“The Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival is one of the most important expressions of our inclusiveness as a community,” said Betsy Pandora, Executive Director of the Short North Alliance. “The Short North Arts District has benefited tremendously from the presence of the Pride Festival and the hundreds of thousands of visitors it attracts to the Short North Arts District throughout the Pride holiday weekend. We are thrilled to continue to play host to the parade route and look forward to the growth of the event into the future.”
Dr. Tom McCartney, President of the Stonewall Board of Directors added, “Stonewall Columbus’ Center on High is a proud member of the Short North neighborhood. We believe everyone will benefit from the expansion of the Pride footprint down High Street.”
The Pride Parade route will be reversed, beginning in the Short North and traveling south down High Street. Detailed route information, including staging areas, will be released in early 2017. Ms. Rothan said that Stonewall’s efforts to minimize any disruptions or inconveniences for neighborhood residents and businesses will continue.
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther expressed his support for the festival’s return to downtown by stating, “The Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and Parade truly reflects who we are as a city. Columbus has distinguished itself as an open, diverse and inclusive community, and downtown is an outstanding place to celebrate these values.”
We know you may have some questions, please check out the following FAQ for more information!
Why is the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and Parade moving in 2017?
- We have simply outgrown Goodale Park with exponential attendance growth during the last 5 Pride celebrations. What began as a small, LGBTQ neighborhood festival is now a citywide celebration in scope, attendance, and size. The growth in participation is positive indication of how our entire city has grown to embrace the LGBTQ community. Columbus is a city where we can thrive, raise families, live authentically and… gather to celebrate that!
- Our biggest concern is always safety. We, along with our Columbus Fire and Police Departments, must be able to respond quickly and unencumbered should an emergency of any type occur. We no longer feel we can do that at Goodale Park.
- For too many years we have not had adequate handicapped/disability parking which excluded members of our community from the festivities by not providing enough convenient and near-by access. The same may be said of our seniors and our families with young children. We do not feel this is acceptable any longer.
- Parking in general has always been a challenge for those that attend the Pride Parade and Festival. The downtown area offers many more options for parking and the COTA CBUS® Circulator. We anticipate that attending Pride will be a much more convenient and enjoyable experience.
Why move now?
After the 2016 festival, we immediately concluded that Goodale Park was no longer big enough to accommodate the event. We began searching for a new space and discovered that our old space, Genoa and Bicentennial Parks, had become available on our traditional 3rd Friday and Saturday of June. We jumped immediately on this window of opportunity.
What will happen to the parade?
The parade route will line up in the Short North and proceed south on High Street, then turning west on Broad Street and ending at Genoa Park. We always work very hard to create the smallest interruption and least bother to our Short North community businesses and residents and this year will be no different. We are working with the Short North community now to determine parade line-up details. More information will be available in the coming months.
How will the construction around COSI affect the festival and accessibility to the festival grounds?
We have already met with COSI and the Columbus Division of Traffic to determine the parameters of this issue. The construction around COSI will be limited to the west side of the building and will not affect the actual festival area. Safe pedestrian walk-ways are already in place and only Belle St. will be closed. We do not foresee this construction hindering accessibility to the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and Parade.
What will the cost be?
We work very hard to ensure that our Festival and Parade are affordable and accessible to ALL of our LGBTQ community members regardless of their ability to pay. This is OUR community’s festival… and it will stay that way. However, we strongly encourage those who are able to purchase Pride Dog Tags and Wristbands to help us offset the costs associated with producing this incredible event. Dog tags and wristbands can be purchased for $10 each and are good for entrance to the festival on both Friday and Saturday. Dog tags and wristbands will be available to purchase early 2017.
What are the times and dates?
The public hours for the Festival will be as follows:
- Friday, June 16th – 4pm-11pm
- Saturday, June 17th – 11am-8pm
- Saturday, June 17th – Pride Parade will kick off at 10:30am at a location TBD in the Short North
How can I become a sponsor?
We are also happy to announce that the move will allow us to offer many more sponsorship opportunities at all giving levels. Make the move with us and increase your invisibility!! Watch for our sponsorship emails and links coming soon. You can signup for email notifications by visiting columbuspride.org/becomeasponsor.
How can I be a vendor?
Online vendor registration will be available in mid -March. Last year, we turned away over 50 vendors because we did not have enough room at Goodale Park. This year, we hope to be able to accommodate considerably more vendor participation. For notifications regarding vendor registration and information, please visit columbuspride.org/participate.
How can my group or I become a volunteer?
Stonewall Columbus’ biggest event of the year, Pride, is made possible by your help! There are many different volunteer roles available throughout Pride weekend as well as the opportunity to become one of our P.I.T. Crew volunteers. P.I.T. Crew (Pride in Training) is a high-level volunteer position for those who want to learn more about what goes into planning Pride and is a great activity to put on a resume! Volunteers participate with the Pride Committee and are mentored by one of the Committee Members. As a member of P.I.T Crew, you will have the opportunity to help put on Stonewall Columbus Pride and will have a direct impact on the festival. Interested in becoming a P.I.T. Crew member? Just fill out an application and complete an interview process! Applications will be accepted online beginning early-Spring 2017. Pride 2017 volunteer information will be available online in Spring 2017.
We hope that you are as excited as we are to take Stonewall Columbus Pride to a new level of visibility, accessibility, and participation. 2017 Stonewall Columbus Pride on the River will be spectacular and now, in the very heart of our great city. More information and details will be released after the first of the year. Stay tuned!