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Lexington Pride Festival returns after pandemic hiatus

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Posted at 6:30 AM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 17:19:24-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lexington is counting down to this Saturday’s Pride Festival, which makes its return to the courthouse plaza downtown after the pandemic canceled the festival in 2020 and 2021.

City crews cleaned up the rainbow crosswalks downtown Wednesday while festival organizers went over final plans. This event is years in the making so people are more excited than ever, according to festival chair Jeremy Ellis.

“A lot of our community, this is their one chance to get out and express themselves and really find a sense of community,” Ellis said.

It’s a chance many people within the LGBTQ+ community didn’t have the last two years. Ellis hopes this year will look more like 2019 when 30,000 people attended over the course of two days. There will be music, vendors, and drag performances, drawing Kentuckians from across the state.

“People are just really excited to get back here and celebrate,” he said.

But Saturday will be more than just a good time. While Pride is completely free, donations go toward the Lexington Pride Center, the oldest LGBTQ+ organization in Kentucky. The festival is also a day for education, change, and connection.

“Especially for people in rural communities or who don't have access to the kind of support we have in Lexington, or places like Louisville that have a larger festival,” Ellis said. “It's really important for those people to have access to the programs we offer, and the support, and the community we instill in each other.”

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. There will be activities for kids, including bounce houses and face painting. Ellis says they’re working closely with police to make sure the event is safe, but he’s encouraging everyone to remain vigilant.