108 - cleveland gay pride

22.) Cleveland Pride Festival – June 26, 2010

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After Com Fest, I was rejuvenated, partially from the Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Cherry ice cream I picked up at the North Market. With enough sunlight left in the day, and possibly enough time to make it to the Cleveland Pride Festival, I decided to chance it.

There were only 75 minutes of festival left when I got into downtown Cleveland, so I parked at the first garage I could find and booked it. From the back of the Great Lakes Science Center, I was happy to see the festival still in full swing.

I even thought I could hear the festival music across the water until I crossed in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There, WZAK, an R&B radio station, was playing Michael Jackson’s music in observance of the first anniversary of his death.

(check out the Thriller outfit)

Eventually, I made my way into George V. Voinovich Park…

…passing the welcoming obelisk…

…and approaching the stage, where they were playing some hip hop.

Now that I was actually on the festival grounds, I realized that things were, in fact, wrapping up.

The food area was quiet with not that much selection…

…and, although some people still frequented the line of booths representing various issues and organizations…

…some of those booths were already packing up.

I circled the area for signs of life and, as if answered, I noticed Cleveland birds taking to the sky.

Being that “bird” in Italian (uccello) is “penis” in slang…

…I decided to follow their lead around the corner…

…to the Beer Garden, where the real action took place (respectively).

There, most of the people cheered and danced…

…as this dude sort of freaked me out a bit.

But I regained my wits once I noticed a woman who the festival goers really loved…

Little Miss Cleveland.

Walking around in her orange parasol and sparkling crown. I got to talk to her briefly before she greeted other festival goers who approached her for a photo…

…like this guy.

With most things closed, she became my saving grace to see how the pride in Cleveland shined. Little Miss Cleveland inspired an interaction among both men and women of all sexual persuasions who came to her for photos, small talk and hugs.

She was like the Com Fest spirit incarnate.

After deciding to get a hug myself, I felt even better about my festival-filled day. I headed past the stage as they announced one last song. The remaining attendees groaned with disappointment, but then applauded. Everyone here seemed to have a good time.

Even me.

On my way out, I was handed a “bag of loot” by the gentleman at the entrance. When I peered inside, it looked like a collection of cologne samples…

…even with the half naked guy in the picture.

It wasn’t until later on that I would realize…

…that I wasn’t supposed to apply it behind my ears.

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