Toledo Pride takes over downtown for the 9th year
TOLEDO, Ohio (WNWO) -- The 9th Annual Toledo Pride festival has already had a week of events, and it's almost time for the main show.
The downpour of rain Friday evening didn't stop the LGBTQ community from celebrating at the You'll Do Better in Drag show at Promenade Park.
"Well I mean it's the most fabulous event in the city why wouldn't you come," said Lexi Hayman-Staples, executive director, Toledo Pride.
The event is taking over downtown for the 9th consecutive year.
"Its awesome because we started this in 2010 we were hoping we'd get like 1,000 people interested and now we get almost 20,000 people over the weekend so that means between Friday, Saturday and Sunday we have so many out here celebrating this community and its super awesome," said Hayman-Staples.
The event is a celebration of the LGBTQ community, to share the message of inclusion.
"The LGBTQ community is still discriminated against so big events like this are about visibility," said Brent Rabie, Toledo Pride Parade coordinator. "Because if you're visible it makes it kind of harder to be discriminated against."
"Just to feel like there are other people like us and to give kids who are just coming out the chance to really like be able to feel comfortable in who they are," said Hayman-Staples.
Event organizers said local government has demonstrated their support for the event, and the community, after Toledo City Council banned the controversial conversion therapy back in February 2017.
"It usually mentally damages and physically damages the person, they try to convince them that they're not gay anymore," said Rabie. "We have a really supported local government, city council, the mayor, are all very supportive."
For a full list of events visit their website http://toledopride.com/events/.