Stonewall Columbus’ 2014 Pride festival is set to focus on international love, marshalled by a man known for his role in a galaxy far beyond.
Goodale Park and the streets of downtown Columbus will be converted Friday and Saturday to boast its 33rd annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride. This year’s event will carry a theme of “created equal,” which focuses on the global equality of gay and transgender individuals.
The festival’s parade Saturday will see George Takei of “Star Trek” fame as its grand marshal.
Takei announced he was gay in 2005 and has since become a prominent human rights activist and social media star. He has garnered more than 7 million followers on Facebook, and his page is considered one of the most influential in 2012 by social-media site “The Daily Dot.”
“(Takei) is the first celebrity of this caliber (to be the grand marshal),” executive director of Stonewall Columbus Karla Rothan said in an April article in The Lantern.
The Pride festival is set to begin Friday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. in Goodale Park, 120 W. Goodale St., and pick up again Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The parade is set to step off at 11 a.m. Saturday in the intersection of S. Front Street and W. Broad Street (near City Hall) downtown and trek northward along High Street. The parade will let out in Goodale Park.
Two stages in the park, the Gazebo stage and the Shelterhouse stage, are set to host musical guests and other acts from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
“Glee” cast member Alex Newell is set to perform at 6:45 p.m. Friday, and “American Idol” runner up Crystal Bowersox is set to perform at 8:30 p.m. the same day, both on the Shelterhouse stage. Former “The Voice” contestants Beverly McClellan and Vicci Martinez are scheduled to perform at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by Cleveland-based rock band Winslow at 6:30 p.m., all on the Shelterhouse stage.
An estimated 300,000 people participated in the Pride parade last year, according to “Outlook Columbus” magazine. Festival organizers expect around 400,000 attendees this year, according to an article in The Columbus Dispatch.
The festival is free, although a $5 donation is requested.