Stage & Dance

After sorrow, Pride Festival promises day of celebration

Lorie Houlihan twirled an umbrella as she showed her support for the Supreme Court decision as she danced alongside the March Madness Marching Band at the eighth annual Lexington Pride Festival on Saturday, June 27, 2015.
Lorie Houlihan twirled an umbrella as she showed her support for the Supreme Court decision as she danced alongside the March Madness Marching Band at the eighth annual Lexington Pride Festival on Saturday, June 27, 2015. Herald-Leader

At last year’s Lexington Pride Festival, a joyous crowd celebrated that week’s historical ruling by the United States Supreme Court declaring same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

This year’s festival on Saturday follows a landmark of a much darker sort: the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history that left 49 people dead and 53 wounded at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

But Lexington’s Pride Festival, dedicated to celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning community, will go on with a full day of entertainment. Security will be in place, as it is every year.

“We have not changed anything about our schedule,” said Katherine Wilkie, festival chair. “We talk with law enforcement every year. We sat down and talked about some of the concerns we’ve had from the community. A lot of social media questions, a lot of calls to our Pride center, a lot of emails to all of us. And we are going to have an increased police presence.”

The day will include live music, children’s activities, food trucks and more than 100 vendors. “We have performances all day and there will not be five minutes without someone on the stage,” Wilkie said.

Headlining the show is country singer Billy Gilman, who came out as gay in 2014. His first hit, One Voice, was in 2000, when he was 11 years old. Other performers include rapper and hip-hop artist ChevyGurl, and indie rocker Kristen Ford. Local artists include the band Twenty Years Gone, Blackbird Dance Theatre and the March Madness Marching Band.

Festival organizers promise a day of fun, but for those still reeling from the Orlando tragedy, know that security will be a part of the day as well.

“We ask that everybody, if you see something, say something. We are going to be hashtagging that all day,” Wilkie said. “If you see something out of the ordinary, it does not hurt to say anything. The people that are going to be on the ground, the Lexington police are trained in this, so you’re not going to cause a problem by reporting anything suspicious.”

Harriett Hendren: 859-231-3175.

If you go

Lexington Pride Festival

When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. June 25

Where: Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza, 120 N. Limestone

Entertainment schedule

11:00 a.m.: Mr. and Miss LexPride

11:25 a.m.: Kentucky Trans Orchestra

12:05 p.m.: Louisville Men’s Chorus

12:45 p.m.: Blackbird Dance Theatre

1:25 p.m.: SisterSound

1:55 p.m.: Presentation of Flags, mayor proclamation, representatives from Toyota and Pride Committee

2:20 p.m.: March Madness Marching Band

3:15 p.m.: Community Drag Show

4:10 p.m.: Headliner: Chevy Gurl

5:05 p.m.: WUKY Karaoke Winners

5:45 p.m.: Dance Break – DJ Battle

7:15 p.m.: Kristin Ford

8:10 p.m.: Community Drag Show

8:50 p.m.: Billy Gilman

Admission: Free

Online: Lexpridefest.org

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