At the moment, the Kentuckiana Pride Parade, which takes place Friday, June 14, has more than 115 floats, companies and groups signed up to participate, meaning those marching could total around 4,000. Those are the biggest numbers the Kentuckiana Pride Festival has gotten for the parade, which signifies the start of the two-day event.
There are some changes with the route this year as well, definitely for the better, says Allen Hatchell, Kentuckiana Pride Foundation president. Since the location of the festival switched from the Belvedere to the Big Four Lawn last year, organizers decided to switch up the parade route so it marched in front of more supportive businesses, where people could easily gather and socialize before it rolls on through.
NuLu being a perfect spot for that, it just made sense to start at the corner of Market and Campbell streets, near Rye, then head west on Market to Preston Street, and then over to River Road toward the Big Four Lawn.
“Last year we got a lot of feedback from the community … so our parade team took that advice and connected with the strong support of the businesses in NuLu,” says Hatchell. “So what you see is an extended parade that is now 1.5 miles in length.”
If you’ve driven or walked through NuLu recently, you’ll notice many of the shops, restaurants and galleries already have put up rainbow flags in support of the parade.
“I want to say how excited we are that the organizers of the KPF Pride Parade have decided to include NuLu in the parade route this year,” says Rick Murphy, president of the NuLu Business Association, in a news release. “We like to say that NuLu is not just a place but a state of mind — a way of thinking that is all-inclusive, always welcoming and fun for all.”
Organizers of the parade and festival also are commemorating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, a series of riots that took place in New York City in 1969 that are considered to be the start of the LGBTQ liberation movement.
Hatchell tells Insider that several groups will honor Stonewall with their parade floats and decorations, and there will be a photo exhibit of various LGBTQ icons courtesy of Fair Event Vendors Alliance (FeVA) and the LGBTQ+ Icon Project.
And on Saturday, DJ Syimone will host a special tribute to Stonewall at the festival at 8 p.m.
Saturday’s festival will feature two stages of live music and performers, with national headliners Daya, Mykki Blanco and the First Ladies of Disco, and the local talent of Grlwood, Bridge 19, Cover Me Badd and many more. Louisville’s drag performers also will grace the stages throughout the day.
Hatchell says he’s most looking forward to an expanded festival that also includes many activities for the entire family — things like an expanded Family Fun Zone, a Drag Story Time and youth soccer clinics with Louisville City FC players.
Plus, the wide variety of entertainment hopefully will please all tastes.
“Our entertainment features around 50% people of color, features transgender artists, multiple genres, and our Grammy Award-winning headliner (Daya) identifies as part of the community and is of Indian descent … really something for everyone,” he says.
Hatchell believes Louisville continues to grow in acceptance and compassion year after year, which helps keep the Kentuckian Pride Festival thriving.
“Our city continues to be recognized as a place where people who identify as LGBTQ+ can come and enjoy themselves and feel safe,” he says. “We’ve seen the Kentuckiana Pride Festival grow especially in the past several years, and now we are excited to have this awesome venue where we can continue to expand to the meet the needs of our community and our allies.”
The Kentuckiana Pride Parade on Friday is free to attend and begins at 7 p.m. in NuLu, followed by an after party at the Big Four Lawn until 11 p.m. (admission is $5 into the festival). The Kentuckiana Pride Festival on Saturday runs from noon to 11 p.m. Admission is $5 or $90 for a VIP pass. Weekend general admission passes are $10, or $150 for VIPs.
Pride flags all over town
Since June is National Pride Month, you’ll also see local businesses, offices and retail outlets getting into the spirit of acceptance and inclusivity as well. While big businesses like Humana and Old Forester have shown their support with rainbow flags over the years, Metro Hall will be raising a rainbow flag for the first time ever.
A special ceremony will be held Monday, June 10, at 3:30 p.m. to mark and celebrate the occasion. Metro Hall is located at 527 W. Jefferson St.