columbus pride

24.) Columbus Pride Festival – June 17, 2011

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In 1969, the Stonewall Inn was a mafia-run gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village with no running water, frequently running toilets and no liquor license. Although it may not sound all that appealing, it was the only gay bar in the city where dancing was allowed.

Of course, alcohol was still supplied, even though glasses were quickly washed in a tub of water before reuse (no running water, remember?). After looking through a peephole, a doorman only opened the door for people he recognized or who looked gay to him since there were frequent police raids in those days (usually for some type of payoff).

One such raid occurred on June 28, 1969, and it involved the usual harassment of gay men, the inappropriate touching of lesbians and the arrests of transvestites. But, this time, the raid didn’t go according to the police’s plan.

As the crowd grew in size outside the Stonewall Inn, police soon found themselves before a group who decided to fight back. First, pennies were thrown (in response to talk that the police were there for the usual payoffs). But then beer cans were launched and then bricks from a nearby construction site…until a full blown riot began.

The Stonewall Riots were the beginning of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) movement and, 12 years later, the commemorating march in Columbus…

…was the beginning of the Columbus Pride Festival.

(You knew this story had to be going somewhere right?)

Celebrating its 30th year this year…

…the festival took place in Goodale Park…

…where the entrance led visitors…

…to plenty of alcohol-related booths…


…a chance to climb aboard the Fairy Wheel…

…and plenty of rainbow fun to accessorize with…

…whether for yourself…

…or for your pooches.

In fact, there was quite a bit of interesting shopping opportunities (rainbow or not)…

…whether for wooden baskets…

…Transformer nostalgia…

…personal healing through fragrance or hematite…

…Mexican wrestling career launchings…

…or even some adult fun supplies.

Food was also varied along the streets outside the park…

…with mostly typical festival food selections…

…some over-the-top dishes…


…and then some local flavor to improve your options.

I ended up getting some Munch Lickey Balls (cake balls) from Munchbox
.

…which were pretty good despite the name making me feel a little awkward. :-)

For entertainment, the festival offered…

…two entertainment stages…

…some inflatable fun…

…and even mechanical bulls!

But deeper inside the festival, booths set up did more than such sell merchandise and grub.

They helped festival goers…

…find teams to join or games to watch.

They spread awareness and opportunities…

to help animals at both the national level…

…and the local one (thanks to Noah’s Arc Sanctuary).

But, most importantly…

…they sought out equal rights…

…and they demanded equality

…which should make everyone happy.

But, if it didn’t…

…there were take-home gifts for post-festival happiness…

…and let’s not forget about those great mechanical bulls!

To all who went and to those who wish they had…
.

…I wish you a Happy Pride.

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