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    Sold-out 2024 Kentuckiana Pride could be a record in the festival’s history

    By Divya Karthikeyan,

    30 days ago
    Kentuckiana Pride organizers said this year's parade was the largest ever, with 10,000 marchers.

    Twenty years ago, the Kentuckiana Pride parade was just a city block long.

    Rodney Coffman, the festival’s director, said volunteering at his first Pride festival was liberating.

    He grew up in Dayton, Ohio and didn’t even know Pride existed until he moved to Louisville. He’s grateful for the experience of putting together the Kentuckiana Pride festival.

    “It's allowed me to grow as an individual, and I'm very thankful for it because people who have to suppress themselves, they struggle so much internally with different things, and no one should have to do that,” he said.

    Coffman said it was a struggle to get sponsorships during the festival’s early years. They raised money from door-knocking, spaghetti dinners and car washes.

    This Saturday’s festival stands in stark contrast.

    The 2024 Kentuckiana Pride at the Big Four Lawn in Waterfront Park marks a record number of participants – over 35,000 people are expected to attend the parade and festival combined, and 200 vendors signed up to participate.

    Swedish group Icona Pop , and musician and breakout pop star Chappell Roan will be co-headliners. More details on the lineup here .

    Coffman anticipates 12,000 people at the parade, and close to 25,000 people are expected at the festival.

    The parade will be led by three grand marshals: Lisa Gunterman, who works with U of L's LGBT Center, performer Robbi Lynn, and Dawn Wilson.

    Wilson is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, who is transgender. She’s chair of the education committee at the Louisville Metro Human Rights Commission and a renowned fencing coach.
    Dawn Wilson at the first Kentuckiana Pride parade in 2004 with two other activists. (Dawn Wilson)

    Wilson was part of the first Pride festival at Waterfront Park 20 years ago. She was also key in the Fairness Campaign’s fight to pass Louisville’s Fairness Ordinance . Wilson said it feels great to be a grand marshal at a Pride with record support.

    “A lot of kids and adults are coming out and expressing who they are and putting an end to the negativity and lies that are told about the community,” she said.

    Security concerns and staying safe

    Last month, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a PSA on international terrorist organizations possibly targeting Pride parades and LGBTQIA+ events during Pride Month in the U.S., particularly in light of the upcoming eighth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Orlando shooting where a gunman shot and killed 49 people.

    Lawmakers in many Republican-controlled states, including Kentucky, have introduced and passed a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation , and have ramped up anti-trans rhetoric in recent years.

    Chris Hartman, Executive Director of the Fairness Campaign, says threats and attacks have always been an unfortunate reality for LGBTQ+ people. He was also concerned about threats and attacks from domestic terrorist groups.

    “I feel much more danger in the halls of our state Capitols, like Frankfort, than I do at a Pride festival celebration where our community is gathered in loving celebration of one another,” he said.

    Rodney Coffman, director of the festival, said there will be a heightened security presence at the festival and parade. Coffman said the Louisville Metro Police Department and other security agencies with experience working parades will be present. Volunteers will also be on site to aid festival goers.

    Tips to stay safe:

    • Arrive in groups.
    • Parking will be difficult, Coffman recommends carpooling to the parade and festival or having friends who can drop you off.
    • Use the buddy system.
    • Reach out to volunteers if you see something suspicious or potentially dangerous.
    • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

    Tickets sold out last weekend, and Hartman said people who could not get tickets can still attend one of many Pride events happening across the state through the year.
    Here’s a list of Pride events happening across the state .

    Augusta Pride in the Park
    Saturday, June 15, 12 p.m. ET, River Park (Boat Dock)

    Corbin Pride
    Saturday, June 22, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET, Nibroc Park

    Owensboro Pride Picnic
    Sunday, June 23, 12 p.m. CT, Unity Fellowship

    Latinx Pride, Louisville
    Saturday, June 29, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. ET, La Casita Center

    Harlan County Pride March
    Saturday, June 29, 10 a.m. ET, Harlan County Courthouse

    Lexington Pride Festival
    Saturday, June 29, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET, Central Bank Center

    Ashland Pride Picnic
    Saturday, July 13, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET, Riverfront Park

    KY Black Pride Festival, Lexington
    Saturday, Sept. 14, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. ET, Woodland Park

    Louisville Pride Festival
    Saturday, Sept. 14, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. ET, Bardstown Rd

    Boone County Pride
    Saturday, Oct. 5, TBA

    Capital Pride Festival, Frankfort
    Saturday, Oct. 12, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET, Downtown

    Pikeville Pride
    Saturday, Oct. 12, 12 p.m. ET, Appalachian Wireless Arena

    Bowling Green Pride Festival
    Saturday, Oct. 26, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. CT, Circus Square Park

    Chill Out & Proud Somerset
    Saturday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Somerset College Festival Field

    Details yet to be announced:

    Berea Pride, Berea

    Heartland Pride, Elizabethtown

    Murray Pride Parade & Picnic, Murray

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