Akron’s Pride Festival is back with a debut at Lock 3

By Abbey Marshall

The Akron Pride Festival is returning this summer at a new location. 

The festival, scheduled Aug. 28, will kick off with the Akron Equity March at 10 a.m. The parade steps off on S. Main Street near Spaghetti Warehouse, winding through Downtown streets and finishing at Lock 3, where the festival celebrating the LGBTQ+ community will take place until 10 p.m.

In previous years, more than 20,000 people flocked to Hardesty Park in Wallhaven for the festival. After canceling the 2020 celebration due to the pandemic, the Pride organizers decided to expand to a larger and more accessible venue.

Lock 3, which is more centrally located and has more accessibility via public transit, allows for more people from every Akron neighborhood to attend, says festival chair Julie Pryseski. 

The festival will feature food trucks, more than 180 retail and non-profit vendors and entertainment across three stages located at Lock 3, Lock 4 and Cascade Plaza. A new partnership with Akron Children’s Museum, which is located at Lock 3, brings an expanded children’s area from 12 to 3 p.m. All events are free. 

Entertainers include comic, actress and singer Sandra Valls, television personality and social media influencer Gia Gunn and drag performer Jiggly Caliente. Additionally, performers from June’s Drag Battle at the Civic will be featured, alongside winners from previous years. 

The festival’s headliner is Wrabel, an EDM artist who has collaborated with and written songs for high-profile musicians such as Ke$ha, Louis the Child and Marshmello.

In 2019, his EP, “One of Those Happy People,” released by his own label Big Gay Records, was awarded one of Billboard Pride’s 20 Best LGBTQ albums of the year. 

For a full line-up or ways to participate and volunteer, visit www.akronpridefestival.org.

Abbey Marshall covers economic development for The Devil Strip via Report for America. Reach her at abbey@thedevilstrip.com.

Photo: Noor Hindi

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