YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The 8th annual Pride Youngstown Festival is this weekend and Chairperson Carlos Rivera says it will be jam-packed with activity.
“We have food vendors, we have marketplace vendors, we have nonprofit groups coming in, giving out information.”
He says many families come, so there will be a contest on stage for the kids.
Denise Russell is a drag queen performing at the festival. She used to live in Youngstown and says she is glad to see a strong LGBT community in the area.
“I lived in the Youngstown area for about 15 years and I never thought, I’ve been at this a long time and I just never thought that we’d get a Youngstown Pride Festival,” Russell said.
Rivera says that in light of recent events like the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, this festival is even more important.
“First off, it tells everyone that we’re not gonna be afraid, we’re not gonna hide and we’re not going to cancel our event just because some people want us to.”
Russell says that she plans on addressing these issues during her performance.
“I sing and I’m usually very funny and kind of off-the-cuff, and I want to put some more serious things in the performance this time around…in light of what’s happened.”
Youngstown Police will be present at the event to keep everyone safe.
“There will be security measures in place to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience while they’re downtown,” Chief Robin Lees said.
In the end, Rivera says that the festival is all about having a good time.
“Nine hours of entertainment. You can’t beat that for $3, come on.”
The festival will take place downtown on Saturday from noon to 9 p.m.