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Akron Pride Festival Shows Significant Growth in Second Year

photo of Akron Pride march
Hundreds of people lined Exchange Street from Highland Square to Hardesty Park during the March For Equality that kicked off the 2nd Annual Akron Pride Festival.

Akron’s Annual LGBTQ Pride Festival experienced double-digit growth in its second year, something organizers say they are watching as they plan for the future.

Drag performers, politicians and a color guard led the March For Equality that kicked off Saturday’s Pride Fest. Summit County Clerk of Courts Sandra Kurt was one of the organizers and says attendance for the march was up 60 percent over last year. She says there has been discussion about whether the festival itself needs to move to a bigger venue next year. But she’s hopeful it stays put, with the march starting in Highland Square and arriving at Hardesty Park in Wallhaven.

“I personally really like it being in the neighborhood. I like walking and seeing people on their front porches. And I like just the neighborhood feel and the park feel. That it isn’t in a downtown business space – it’s in a neighborhood.”

A flyer had circulated prior to the festival asking for “Prayer Warriors” to surround the park and give out evangelizing materials, but Kurt says none showed up.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.