Springfield LGBT Pride festival to be held Saturday

The event, hosted by local advocacy group Equality Springfield, will include music, dance and local celebrities to celebrate Springfield’s diverse community. Hundreds of people came downtown last year for the first event, said spokesman Rick Incorvati.

“We just couldn’t have been happier with the way the celebration happened last year,” Incorvati said. “We’re hopeful that that’s the beginning of a tradition we can provide the community with here. … We hope Springfield can become one of those communities people can come to have a celebration of diversity.”

This year, the organization raised more than $1,000 to put up more than 60 banners around downtown promoting the event as part of its visibility campaign, he said. Last year, the organization purchased billboards and placed them across the community.

Amanda Sue, an award-winning drag entertainer from Springfield who was recently named 2015 Miss Gay Ohio America, will serve as the event host for the second straight year.

Karen Adkins, winner of Springfield’s Got Talent in 2013, will perform, as well as Mati Lyons, whose song “Sky’s on Fire” was a finalist for the John Lennon International Songwriting contest.

More than 20 groups will be represented, including Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the local youth group SAY IT, and the anti-bullying organization the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.

Speakers will include Mayor Warren Copeland and City Commissioner Karen Duncan.

Several churches — including Christ Episcopal, First United Church of Christ, Highlands United Church of Christ, Faith United Methodist Church, Covenant Presbyterian Church and Northminster Presbyterian Church — have also shown support for the event.

“With bills being passed under the name Religious Freedom Restoration Act, you can send the message that if you’re gay, religions don’t want to have much to do with you,” Incorvati said. “That’s just not the case for our community.”

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