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    This September will mark the first Louisville Pride Festival. Louisville.com caught up with Louisville Pride Chairman Thomas Carrier to get the details! 

    Louisville.com: Who decided Louisville Pride was going to become a thing and how did the idea come together?

    Thomas Carrier: The foundation really was started following a small pride celebration in the Highlands called “Highlands Pridefest” last year in the week leading up to Kentuckiana Pride Festival. Some businesses in the area came together and planned a series of coordinated events. It was the first time they worked together and advertised together in such a public way. The response was so positive that some folks that participated asked why something more coordinated and larger isn't being planned. So a group of us started having meetings to figure what that would look like. We decided that the mission would encompass not just the Highlands but the entire city, so we named the organization the Louisville Pride Foundation.

    Before the board was officially formed last October, I met with Rodney, the current chair of Kentuckiana Pride to discuss how we can work together and we pledged our support for each other’s organizations from the very beginning and they have been a huge help ever since.

    Louisville.com: Who else is involved in the organization heading up the event?

    Carrier: There is currently a board of 6 members, an executive committee made up of 3 members and an additional 6 committee chairs each with additional committee members. All in all there are about 30 people involved in the planning of the event. The event itself will include an army of over 200 volunteers. The board includes various members of the community with different backgrounds. The executive committee includes Omicah House, who has previous festival and bar restaurant management experience and is a member of the Blue Apple Players, Ronda Sharp, an experienced account manager and myself. My background is in internet marketing and finance.

    I cannot say enough how amazed I am at all of the hard work people are doing to make this event great, especially when everyone is volunteering their time for free. These people are fantastic people who really care about making Louisville a wonderful place to call home.

    Louisville.com: What will the dates and times be for the event?

    Carrier: The event will be all day Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. You won't want to miss any of it so be sure to plan for the whole day.

    Louisville.com: Where will the festival be held?

    Carrier: The festival is on Bardstown Road from Grinstead Drive to Beechwood and includes the side streets of Lucia, Patterson and Ellwood to the alleys. The road will be closed, however the alleys will be open to traffic for local businesses and the festival is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted at all street entrances and online at www.louisvillepride.com.

    Louisville.com: Still needing volunteers? What can they do and where can they sign up?

    Carrier: Yes! We still have some spots open. Volunteers receive a free t-shirt, a pride wristband with discounts at local businesses, an invite to a private volunteer appreciation party and the feeling of being fabulous for supporting their community. Volunteers can sign up online at www.louisvillepride.com/volunteers.

    Louisville.com: How do you think Louisville Pride will impact our community?

    Carrier: When we decided to do this event, we made it our goal to make this event a forum for the entire community. Louisville Pride is a celebration of diversity and a way to learn about what is going on in the community and the issues our communities are faced with. A lot of people in my life have no idea how PRIDE came to be and we have an interactive installation in the center of the event that will allow people to learn about the history of the LGBT movement, how it has changed, and give the community an opportunity to share what it means to them today. We hope that this interaction with a broad audience will promote understanding, cooperation, awareness, and ultimately action that makes Louisville a better place to live for all of us.

    Louisville.com: What is Louisville Pride trying to accomplish?

    Carrier: We are dedicating funds raised by the event to local organizations that effect positive change in Louisville. The beneficiaries for our first year include 2 charities in addition to the Louisville Pride Foundation. The first is the Louisville Visual Arts Open Doors program, which is an umbrella program of classes and art enrichment experiences designed to give a voice to under-served populations including the at-risk youth, refugees and immigrants, senior citizens, victims of domestic abuse and more. The second is the Louisville Youth Group, a community resource dedicated to providing LGBTQIA youth ages 14 through 20 a safe and supportive environment and encourages them to be happy, healthy, and responsible members and leaders in our community. We hope to add more every year.

    Louisville.com: What type of events and happenings will be at the festival?

    Carrier: Support from so many businesses and individuals in the city has allowed us to put on a really top notch pride event for our first year. The festival includes two stages featuring international pop duo, Karmin who have over 275 million views on YouTube. We also have the hugely popular independent country singer songwriter Steve Grand, 80’s pop sensation Stacey Q and local legends like The Pass and The Deloreans. The schedule also includes Citizen’s United, Nellie Pearl, Brass Deville, Bridge 19, DJ PRiSM, DJ Syimone, DJ Brios, an episode of FlyySexuality, Voices, Louisville Gay Men’s Chorus, drag queens, bears, the list goes on and seems to grow every day. We also have multiple bars (yes you can drink in the street) and a beer garden with some craft beers, local food trucks, a wellness and healthy living zone and even a family fun zone filled with fun, educational activities for children. In between all of this we have booths for local organizations, retailers, and artists, showcasing many of the reasons why we love to call Louisville home.

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    About Spencer Jenkins

    Spillin' all the Louisville LGBT tea.

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