Since 1996, the gay and lesbian community of Indianapolis has come together each June, in harmony with Pride festivals all over the country, to celebrate who they are and raise awareness of tolerance. The Indy Pride Festival is an eagerly anticipated Indianapolis event that has grown dramatically in size over the years. According to Indy Pride President Gary Brackett: “The festival and events are to celebrate gay pride and bring the community together. We’re trying to bring visibility to the greater Indianapolis community of how many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people there are here.”
IndyMojo video about the Indy Pride Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana
Since its inception, the festival has changed and increased in size as well as attendance, but its core purpose remains the same. In 2007, attendance reached over 30,000, making it Indiana’s largest gay pride event. Each year, it kicks off with a flurry of color and excitement as a parade marches down Massachusetts Avenue, which is known to be an unofficial Indianapolis gay district. There has been a number of noted parade Grand Marshalls, including several celebrities and politicians. In 2007, more than 80 floats and participants were on hand for the commencement of the festival. The parade has grown dramatically over the years; at its inception in 2002, only eight participants were involved and it lasted only 15 minutes. Now an hour long, it showcases the excitement of the day and provides the audience with a glimpse of the festivities to follow.
A wide range of cultural attractions draws both gay and non-gay participants. A variety of booths are sponsored by local LGBT groups eager to provide information for the community in general, as well as for any special interest groups seeking knowledge on the gay community. Local businesses also set up stands in support of the LGBT residents of Indianapolis. In addition, festival-goers can sample foods from local vendors and browse through materials provided by car dealerships and other businesses showing their support. Another key aspect of the event is entertainment; on the south steps of the Indiana World War Memorial, local as well as national musical acts and other entertainers perform for the crowd. National recording artists team with the Pride of Indy Band, drag performers, DJs, and informational speakers to inspire and entertain their audiences. So whether you are a faithful annual attendee or just want to check out the fun, don’t forget to come and support your fellow Indiana community members at the Indy Pride Festival!