CLEVELAND — The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland announced that the annual Pride in the CLE march and festival will be in person on June 4.
The last time the event was hosted in-person in 2019, more than 30,000 people swarmed the streets of Cleveland and Public Square.
“Our last event in 2019 was one of the most successful and well-attended prides that we had seen here in Cleveland,” said Matthew Graves with the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. “It just shows how well this event has grown and has been responded to by our community.”
He said organizers were building on that success in 2020, but plans changed when the pandemic hit. They hosted a Pride Ride instead of a March.
But Graves said this year, organizers felt confident announcing it will be back in person. The march will wind through the streets of Cleveland and end at Malls B and C in downtown to accommodate for more social distancing.
“We took a look at what the past couple of years have looked like at that time [summer],” he said. “We felt safe to announce that this year we were going to come back to in person.”
Graves said the past two years taught organizers how to pivot if COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the warmer months.
“We have that kind of plan and framework in place,” he said.
Michael Deemer with Downtown Cleveland Alliance said he is thrilled to hear that PRIDE in the CLE is back and in person.
“Right now, we're a little bit hunkered down and you know, there's, I think, a lot of uncertainty on people's minds and to have events like Pride and on the horizon to look forward to is really exciting for us,” he said. “It’s been too long and it celebrates and highlights the inclusive, welcoming hub of a global city that we're building.”
Deemer said other big events and festivals are coming to Downton Cleveland despite the peak of COVID-19 cases right. now.
“I mean there’s no question that it is easier to produce and manage outdoor events in the middle of all of this than to do indoor events,” he said. “With the rising vaccination rates, with masking policies in place as needed, we've figured out even in this tough environment with the Omicron variant, we've figured out how to continue events.”