For the first time in three years, the Kentuckiana Pride Festival And Parade will happen as normal — more or less.
The Kentuckiana Pride Festival And Parade is returning to the Big Four Lawn at Waterfront Park on Saturday, June 18, from noon to 10 p.m. The parade will also start at noon on the corner of Campbell Street and Market Street and will end at the festival. The festival programming includes drag shows, musical performances and more.
This is the first time since 2019 that the festival has happened like a “normal” Pride. The 2020 Pride still happened in June, as most Pride events usually do, but it was virtual. The 2021 festival happened in person, but in October, after multiple postponements, and with a requirement for guests to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. The Kids & Family Area didn’t operate as an area — guests were given take-home activity kits instead.
Even this year, there will be some differences: Pride will be one day this year, not two, and the parade will be held earlier in the day.
Rodney Coffman, the president of the Kentuckiana Pride Foundation, which runs the event, told LEO that the decision to go back to a pre-pandemic-esque Pride came in part because COVID less of a widespread threat than it had been in the early stages of the pandemic.
Still, he and his board members had to plan for the possibility that things might go sideways — which meant, if necessary, hosting another virtual Pride.
“We always had in the back of our mind, if we had to switch over [to a virtual event this year], if COVID reared its head again, we would. Knock on wood that it stays the way it is right now and we can have a somewhat normal Pride where people can come and enjoy it,” Coffman said.
Ultimately, though, the local LGBTQ community wanted to have an in-person Pride event in June once again.
“I’m looking forward to, hopefully, some normalcy. Last year was a lot of restrictions, and, personally, I had friends who came and didn’t have proof of their vaccinations, and I turned them away. It is what I do. I have to do what’s right for the community,” Coffman told LEO.
“This year, I’m hoping that more people show up and [that I] see some faces I haven’t seen over the past few years,” he continued. “I’m hoping for normalcy, and I’m looking forward to seeing people enjoying themselves.”
Below, we’ve got an FAQ guide to Pride.
Here’s the Stonewall Main Stage lineup:
1:00 p.m. — Dominique Morgan
2:20 p.m. — Most Wanted
3:40 p.m. — Rich Hennessy
4:20 p.m. — Louisville Gay Men’s Chorus
5:00 p.m. — The Kentucky Gentlemen
6:20 p.m. — Daisha McBride
7:40 p.m. — Miki Ratsula
9:00 p.m. — Tove Lo
There’ll also be local drag performers on the smaller Equality Stage, plus the Kentuckiana Pride Festival Court.
HOW MUCH ARE TICKETS?
Tickets are incredibly affordable — general admission tickets are only $5, plus fees. You can also purchase VIP tickets for $125 each (plus fees). You can buy them online or at the festival. All tickets are non-refundable.
WHAT COMES WITH A VIP TICKET?
A tent lounge with shade and AC, private bathrooms with AC, free snacks and meals, five drink tickets, unlimited water and soda, a VIP bar, a VIP entrance lane, the ability to leave the festival and come back in, and a private stage viewing area.
What’s the parade route, and what streets will be closed?
The parade will start at the intersection of Campbell Street and Market Street downtown. It’ll turn onto Preston Street before making its way down River Road and ending at the festival. The LMPD has not yet announced the road closures for Pride beyond those streets, but check this story online and the LMPD’s Street Closures page for updates.
I don’t want to go to the parade — can I just go straight to the festival itself?
Yep, you can. The festival itself will open at noon, the same time the parade will start.
What food options will there be?
There’ll be a number of food trucks and vendors. The festival hasn’t released the full list yet, but the vendor list mentions Green District Salads, Snow Queen and West Sixth Cantina. So far, All Thai’d Up and Lil Cheezers have confirmed their appearances on their respective websites.
Are kids welcome?
Absolutely — there’ll even be a designated area for them, which will have cornhole, face painting, plinko, a prize wheel, coloring sheets, pettable support dogs and more. It’ll be open from noon to 5 p.m. Kids under 10 get free admission.
What about pets?
The festival requests that you leave pets (besides service animals) at home.
What happens if there’s bad weather?
A representative for the event said that the Kentuckiana Pride Foundation will continue to monitor the weather forecasts leading up to the day of the festival, which will continue as long as there is no thunder.
What about protesters?
Coffman said that there are protesters at Pride every year, but the organization has a plan for dealing with them: rather than being by the festival’s front gate, as they’ve been in the past, the protesters will have to be on the sidewalk. Some protesters last year went onto the Big Four Bridge with megaphones before community members went up and made loud noise nearby to drown them out. This year, though, the festival will have music playing towards the bridge to prevent that from happening again.
What types of COVID precautions will there be?
Masks are encouraged for unvaccinated individuals. The festival also strongly encourages people with COVID symptoms or possible recent COVID exposures to stay home.
What can I bring? What can’t I bring?
This list comes directly from the Pride website:
Coolers (no alcohol or glass containers, will be searched at the gate)
Water, Water, Water. Unopened or empty refillable water bottles are encouraged.
Advertising, selling, or promoting any third party product (including, but not limited to, food and beverage items)
Amplified sound systems
Grills or fryers
Kerosene lamps or open flames of any kind
Outside Alcoholic beverages
Use of drones
Weapons of any kind
The festival also notes that “all bags, coolers, backpacks, etc., will be subject to search.”
Besides the parade, what is there to do?
Eat, drink, shop for local Pride-themed merch and art, watch the musicians, watch the drag performers, take your kids to the Kids & Family Area, chill out with misting fans in the Chill Zone and charge your phone in the Recharge Station.
If you’re interested, you can also volunteer, which gets you free admission to the festival and a free t-shirt.
Where can I park?
Any available parking garage or spot downtown. We strongly recommend that you walk, bike, take an Uber/Lyft, or take TARC instead, though. The festival will have free on-site bike parking.
Any other general tips?
As with any other festival: Bring a refillable water bottle and refill it often. Wear comfortable shoes. Use the bathroom before you leave home. Make sure your phone is charged. Prepare to spend money. Share a ride if you can. Don’t drink and drive.
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