The Lexington Pride Festival seems to have a habit of coming on the heels of key news for gays and lesbians.
The sixth annual festival, on Saturday, will be just days after the U.S. Supreme Court stuck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and dismissed the appeal of California's Proposition 8, both of which deal with same-sex marriage.
Last year's event occurred soon after a disagreement erupted in which Hands On Originals T-shirt company refused to print Pride Festival shirts for its organizer, the Lexington Gay and Lesbian Services Organization. The case is pending before the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission; a public hearing is scheduled Aug. 23.
The T-shirt case brought attention to the relatively new festival and the 36-year-old GLSO. Organization president Paul Brown says the case might not have too much of an effect on this year's event, but the festival's proximity to the Supreme Court's landmark decisions will.
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"This is a great day that brings pride to us all," he said Wednesday. "We will definitely cheer on the decisions from the main stage all day."
Brown said organizers were hoping to attract 15,000 people to Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza for this year's festival. Past editions have drawn nearly 10,000 attendees, he said.
The 2013 festival T-shirt was designed by Sarah Brown and features an image of five figures each in the colors of the rainbow-hued pride flag. The shirt, printed by GPI Graphic Productions of Nicholasville, displays the message of pride for all people despite race, gender or sexual preference, Brown said.
A pre-Pride party on Friday at Natasha's Bistro & Bar is an addition this year. Blues-rock musician Kelly Richey, who is based in Cincinnati but grew up in Lexington, will headline the event.
Saturday's festival will feature Poppy Champlin, the event's first comedy headliner.
Champlin, based in Southern California, is a producer and stand-up comic who has opened for comedians Ray Romano, Denis Leary, Bill Maher and Rosie O'Donnell. She also founded a tour of lesbian comics called "Queer Queens of Qomedy."
"We've never had a comedian, only music," Brown said.
As with previous festivals, the day will feature live music and drag shows.
West Sixth Brewing Co. and Country Boy Brewing will be the festival's beer vendors. (Festivalgoers may buy an official Pride Festival cup with their drinks.) They are among the 70 nonprofit and retail vendors and 200 booths that will be provide food, entertainment and information
Despite the new things at the event, Brown says, the festival's goal remains the same: to educate, enhance and empower the community about issues affecting their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender neighbors.
IF YOU GO
Lexington Pride Festival
What: Sixth annual free, family-friendly festival, organized by Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, to celebrate the heritage of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Central Kentucky
When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. June 29
Where: Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza, E. Main St. and N. Limestone
Learn more: Lexpridefest.org
Pre-Pride Party: Celebration with blues rocker Kelly Richey. 9 p.m. June 28. Natasha's Bistro, 112 Esplanade. $20 general seating, $10 for standing in bar area, $35 VIP seating. (859) 259-2754. Beetnik.com.
11 a.m.: Welcome, proclamation from Mayor Jim Gray; presentation and performance by Miss and Mr. LexPride
11:30 a.m.: Company Q
Noon: Battle of the DJ's: DJ Brady and DJ ea
1:30 p.m.: SisterSound
2 p.m.: Drag show
3 p.m.: Bridge 19
4 p.m.: DJ E-Square
4:45 p.m.: March Madness Marching Band
5 p.m.: SylVic and the Mockingbirds
6 p.m.: Domino
7 p.m.: Drag show
8 p.m.: Poppy Champlin