“Free to Love” selected as theme for OKC Pride 2016
By Michael Clark
OKC Pride President
Spring is in the air and that means it is time to gear up for OKC Pride 2016. What began as a small parade with a few hundred people in 1988 has grown to a week-long celebration of diversity, individuality and freedom culminating in the largest parade in the state of Oklahoma.
As a theme for OKC Pride 2016, the board of directors has selected “Free to Love.” This theme reflects the evolving recognition of the LGBTQ community as an equal and vital part of our population. It also speaks to the fact that the OKC Pride Parade falls on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality on June 26.
OKC Pride will once again host activities throughout the week of June 20-26, culminating with a huge block party and free concert on Friday night, June 24; Arts Festival throughout the weekend and the OKC Pride Parade at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 26.
Last year’s events drew an estimated crowd of 75,000 people and this year looks to be even larger. As schedules and entertainment are confirmed, information will be posted on our website (www.OKCPride.org), but rest assured that we are working hard to ensure top-notch entertainment, delicious food trucks, interesting vendors, expanded family-friendly activities and a good time for all.
This year’s theme, “Free to Love,” will be exemplified at the third annual Love is Love marriage ceremony. Couples are invited to join in a special wedding ceremony on the main stage Saturday afternoon. The theme will also be reflected in our selection of winners for best parade float entry. We are expecting record turnout for the 2016 OKC Pride parade with more entries than ever before, including a number of youth and student groups.
OKC Pride is not just the biggest party of the year however. We work year-round on outreach to the LGBTQ community and education of the community at-large. The OKC Pride festival is a great opportunity to make our voice heard but we also hosted the first annual Transgender Valentine Banquet this year, third-annual Second-Chance Prom, LGBTQ Youth Prom and third-annual Halloween Block Party on 39th Street.
Each of these events allows OKC Pride to reach out to more members of our community to let them know they are not alone and put them in touch with necessary resources. They also show all of Oklahoma City that its LGBTQ members are living and working beside them every day. We believe this education and outreach is vital to our continued growth.
These events and all of our daily outreach activities cannot happen without the support and assistance of each of you. Please take a moment to go to www.OKCPride.org and join OKC Pride, make a donation, sign up to volunteer, register your festival booth or parade float.
No matter what you have to contribute, we need your help and support. OKC Pride is a non-profit educational organization that is run entirely by volunteers and your generous contributions. Thank you for your continued support, Oklahoma!
The Gayly- 4/4/2016 @ 10:50 AM CDT