Hamilton Ohio Pride march, festival returns on Saturday

Hamilton held its first Pride event Saturday, June 5, 2021. A parade kicked off the festivities and ended at Marcum Park with vendors, food and music. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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Hamilton held its first Pride event Saturday, June 5, 2021. A parade kicked off the festivities and ended at Marcum Park with vendors, food and music. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

The day will end with a concert at RiversEDGE.

In its third year, Hamilton Ohio Pride will celebrate its second annual live event Saturday.

The first Hamilton Ohio Pride live event was supposed to happen in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the group had to pivot, ending up doing a month-long virtual event.

“That worked well for the online pandemic universe, but then going into last year, when we realized we could have the event, we were really excited to bring our first event where people could actually come out,” said organizer Taylor Stone-Welch.

In its second year, the group was able to hold its first Hamilton Ohio Pride march and festival. The response was unbelievable, said Stone-Welch.

“It was much larger than anticipated,” he said. “It kind of blew us out of the water as far as the support we got from the community.”

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The group anticipated about 100 people for the morning march, but it ended up being four or five times that size. The LGBTQ community and allies of the community marched to Marcum Park for a several hours-long festival, which drew 2,500 to 3,000 people throughout the day.

“The RiversEDGE concerts brings in that 2,000 amount, and our concert was definitely as big as theirs, plus we had a full day of events. It’s hard to track people, but there were definitely 1,000 people there (during the day).”

The day starts out at 11 a.m. with a gathering at Rotary Park before the march, including speakers to address the crowd. At about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, the group begins the march, which Stone-Welch emphasized is meant for people to join.

“We want people to come and walk with us because it’s a moment of solidarity and empowerment,” he said, adding people are encouraged to bring flags and signs as “it’s really a moment to gather.”

The march ends at Marcum Park at around noon where a festival will begin and last until 6 p.m. It’s not unlike other festivals at the park, which will include food trucks, retailers and other Hamilton organizations. But there will be some non-profits that represent and provide resources for the LGBTQ community.

Stone-Welch also said there are several churches that will attend that embrace the LGBTQ community.

“I know a lot of people who have grown up in the church and have identified as being a part of the gay community. There’s a lot of conflict there,” he said. “Your religious identity and your queer identity can be really at odds. It’s a good resource to meet some of those religious leaders to say what you’ve been taught isn’t really true. You can be part of a church and you don’t have to sacrifice who you are and who you love.”

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After the festival, Hamilton Ohio Pride 2022 will conclude with the annual Hamilton Pride Concert, which starts at 6 p.m. The concert will open with The Yada Yada Yadas and is headlined by We Three Queens. It will conclude at 10 p.m.

There will be DJ and Drag performances by local queens throughout the evening. The concert venue is located at RiversEDGE Amphitheater, 116 Dayton St. The concert is free and open to the public. Parental guidance is advised for evening drag shows.

Stone-Welch said he never would have guessed Hamilton would have a Pride event growing up in the city. He thought when he moved away to college he wouldn’t return. But he did.

“Years later now, being a part of this in our city just feels extremely gratifying, one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life,” he said.


HOW TO GO

Hamilton Ohio Pride is planned for Saturday. Hamilton Ohio Pride 2022 is made up of three components:

The Hamilton Pride March: Participants will meet at 11 a.m. at Rotary Park, 208 High St., where speakers will address the crowd. The march will start at approximately 11:30 a.m. and end just after noon at Marcum Park as the Pride Festival is set to start. The march route starts at Rotary Park and goes along High Street, west on Main Street, south on D Street, turning east on Ross Ave., and continues to the walking path under the High-Main Bridge (includes stairs) and concludes at Marcum Park. The Hamilton Pride March will remain on sidewalks from start to finish. Participants are asked to bring water and sunscreen. Positive and uplifting signs, attire, and flags are encouraged.

The Hamilton Pride Festival: starts at noon and runs until 6 p.m. right before the Pride Concert is set to start. The Pride Festival will be held at Marcum Park, 116 Dayton St.

The Hamilton Pride Concert: starts at 6 p.m. and will open with The Yada Yada Yadas headlined by We Three Queens. It will conclude at 10 p.m. There will be DJ and Drag performances by local queens throughout the evening. The concert venue is located at RiversEDGE Amphitheater, 116 Dayton St.The concert is free and open to the public. Parental guidance is advised for evening drag shows.

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