Youngstown Pride organizers say recent events make visibility critical

The Pride Parade starts at noon on Saturday, followed by the festival -- complete with live bands and drag shows -- in downtown Youngstown

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Organizers with Pride Youngstown hope this weekend’s festival will be the biggest and best they’ve ever had.

They said in light of recent events concerning the LGBTQ+ community, visibility is more important now than ever.

Saturday marks the ninth year of Youngstown Pride and every year, it grows.

“We have over 60 vendors. We have food vendors, non-profits, we have entertainment, we have a family area this year with kiddie games and a kiddie Ferris wheel,” Director Tim Bortner said.

The Pride Parade is being brought back after a two-year hiatus. Bortner said parades are important in times like these when LGBTQ rights are in jeopardy.

“March in the community and show that we’re not going to go away. We’re going to be here, and we’re going to fight, and we’re going to continue to stay strong.”

President Trump’s comments and his action to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military are upsetting to those running the festival.

“For ones who know what they’re doing, there’s absolutely no distraction,” Entertainment Director Daniel Tirabassi said. “It’s basically people like me, that look like me, want to go serve in the military. How is that distracting to anybody?”

Organizers said it’s comments like those that make pride parades even more important.

“The more visible we are as a community, the more people understand that we are not a distraction. We are not an extra added cost. We’re just people who got dealt a different hand than everybody else,” Tirabassi said.

The Pride Parade starts at noon on Saturday, followed by the festival — complete with live bands and drag shows — from 12:30 to 9 p.m. in downtown Youngstown.

Tickets are $4 per person. Entry is free for children 10 and under.

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