Thousands of Attendees Celebrate Downtown at the 2022 Pride of Akron Festival


The 2022 Akron Pride Festival kicked off with the Akron Fairness Walk, starting near Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Akron and continuing to Lock 3, the center of the festival.

The march is organized to support the LGBTQ+ community and to demonstrate Akron and Summit County’s pursuit of equality and fairness for all.

Akron Pride Day:What you need to know about this weekend’s Akron Pride festival

Several events took place at the festival, including performances by Natasshja Norielle, winner of the 2022 Drag Performer of the Year. Music performed on three stages, with activities at Lock 3, Cascade Plaza and the County Public Library of Akron Summit.

A fireworks display sponsored by the Downtown Akron Partnership and the Knight Foundation was scheduled to wrap up Saturday’s festival.

Crowds gather to show support for the LGBTQ+ community in Akron

Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Spaghetti Warehouse with thousands more lining South Main Street and Lock 3, where the main events took place. Many people carried rainbow flags or wore t-shirts supporting the LGBTQ community.

Sheryl Blanchard, a member of Harmony Springs Christian Church in Green, wore a shirt that read ‘I support the separation of church and hate’.

Blanchard said the church supports the LGBTQ community.

After:Road closures in and around the Akron Pride Festival begin as early as Friday

“Our church aims to be inclusive,” Blanchard said. “Jesus sets the table for everyone.”

Uniontown’s Greg Blanchard said the Blanchard family has traveled far and wide to show their support.

“We went as a couple and as a family to support Pride events across the country,” said Greg Blanchard. “It gives us the opportunity to be in a place where we can support.”

Kristen Clark of Medina, a Project Learn employee from Summit County, was ready to celebrate the day.

“It’s nice to see everyone coming together to be supported,” Clark said. “We have a very supportive community.”

Hundreds of people take part in the Akron Equity March along South Main Street during the festival on Saturday.

Akron Pride Festival is an emotional experience for a trans woman

Barbara Marie Minney of Tallmadge has made the transition after 41 years of marriage.

“I became a trans woman,” Minney said.

Minney attended the 2021 event and found it an emotional experience.

“Last year I cried,” Minney said. “It was the first time we walked in the parade.”

Minney wrote a poem about the experience which was published in the Pride Guide.

“The poem was about my experience in the parade,” Minney said. “I felt like everyone was applauding me for the transition I made. That’s why it was so emotional for me.

Alison Cross from North Canton said the festival is a place where the LGBTQ community can be supported.

“It’s a safe space and a love space, and Ohio is becoming a dangerous place,” Cross said.

Cross spoke of an Akron family with a child who wants to transition, but is unable to do so in Ohio.

“Because she’s underage, she won’t be able to start transitioning until she’s 18,” Cross said.

The family is trying to sell their home to move to New York, where health care coverage for the transition is more readily available.

“His parents, they’re tired,” Cross said. “They are broken and discouraged.”

Cross is worried that Ohio lawmakers will pass anti-trans legislation and wanted to be in Akron for the festival to show his support.

“There was no way I wasn’t here,” Cross said.

John A. MacDonald, 93, a retired University of Akron professor, said the Akron Symphony Chorus was inclusive during MacDonald’s long tenure as choir director.

“All I ask them is, ‘Do you like to sing and are you ready to work as a team?’ said MacDonald.

Akron Pride Festival supporters want the LGBTQ community to know they’re not alone

Mike Foster, academic advisor for the Spectrum student group at Copley High School, said the organization has more than 100 members out of the school’s 850 students.

Millennial Theater performs on stage at Lock 3 during the 2022 Akron Pride Festival.

Foster said the festival is important to the LGBTQ community for the support it provides and for demonstrating inclusivity and the message it sends that “they don’t have to be alone and people love them who they are for.”

Vendors lined South Main Street near Lock 3 as crowds grew for the day’s performances. As an announcer called from a Lock 3 scene, Cleveland’s Andy Curtiss and Akron’s David Kisha walked through the crowd.

Mr. R&J Leather Bear Pride representative Curtiss said the festival in Akron was better organized than the one in Cleveland. Curtiss was impressed with how the vendors and performers were set up at the event.

“I’m on the leather stash,” Curtiss said. “For me, it’s about representing. Events like this allow people to explore themselves.

Kisha said the turnout was good. The Firestone Park resident planned to spend most of the day at the event.

“Look at the vendors, enjoy my time (and) have a good time,” Kisha said.

Hundreds of supporters line South Main Street during the Akron Fairness March on Saturday.

This Year’s Pride in Akron Festival is ‘Double the Size and Double the Fun’

The event started in 2017 at Hardesty Park in the Wallhaven area of ​​the city. Over 20,000 people attended the 2019 Pride of Akron Festival.

Pineapple Peruu took the time to pose for selfies on Main Street with festival-goers chasing Peruu for photos.

“I was here last year,” said Peruu. “It’s double the size and double the fun.”

Peruu was scheduled to take part in two performances, co-hosting a 4 p.m. show and performing in a nighttime show. Peruu started drag performances in 2019, has been slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic, and has seen great success recently.

“I became very popular very quickly,” said Peruu. “I have (more) people who recognize me.”

US Bank employees participate in the Akron Equity March along South Main Street, presented by JM Smucker Co.

Peruu said full-time entertainment is a long-term goal.

“I love seeing people’s faces light up when they see me,” Peruu said. “That’s why I chose the swimsuit.”

The artist said the Akron area is becoming more tolerant and accepting of the LGBTQ community.

“I would say we are improving,” said Peruu. “There are a lot more sites welcoming us.”

Leave a message for Alan Ashworth at 330-996-3859 or email him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @newsalanbeaconj.

The Akron Equity Walk is led by the 2022 Akron Pride Festival Steering Committee along South Main Street leading to Lock 3 on Saturday.

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