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Gay Pride Weekend in Covington Means Celebration, Change for Organization

NKY Pride will celebrate another year in Covington, but also a transition to a new name and a new direction. While the annual pride event will remain the largest fundraiser for the gay organization, it will be more publicly known as NKY Fairness, an affiliate of the statewide organization pushing for gay equality in Kentucky.

The group announced those plans in March.

Covington is already one of seven cities in the Commonwealth with a so-called Fairness Ordinance, one that extends protections to people based on sexuality and gender identity. It is also home to a more grassroots pride celebration as opposed to the ones in largers cities, including Cincinnati, that land huge corporate sponsors.

"We're about the community and being together as a community and doing work together as a community. I think that's reflective of the Pride Weekend we have," said Bonnie Meyer, president of NKY Fairness. "It includes the people who care about health and wellness, and also people love their dogs here, so the pet zone is going to be bigger this year. It was one of the most successful things of last year's festival. The importance of it being a family-friendly and ally-friendly environment. You'll never get anywhere if you don't have allies and we have incredible allies here and our festival is reflective of that."

The theme of this year's festival is "Building Our Communities". As NKY Fairness mobilizes, it will look to spread its message of equality to the rest of Northern Kentucky. 

Urban cities like Bellevue and Newport are likely targets for fairness conversations as is Highland Heights, home of Northern Kentucky University where Meyer is director of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) Programs and Services.

Already, NKY Fairness is hosting meetings outside of Covington. "We've tried very hard to move meetings all over Northern Kentucky. We've met in Newport, Bellevue, and we are talking about expanding even farther south," Meyer said. "We want to be inclusive of all Northern Kentucky communities and then also as we move into the fall, the importance of the fairness ordinances, we'll be meeting regularly with the Fairness Campaign on the first Wednesday of every month about how we can get additional ordinances passed."

"It's about inclusivity and fairness work in Northern Kentucky."
 
But first, a celebration
 
NKY Pride starts on Friday with the second annual NKY Pride Ride, a bicycle ride through Covington, Newport, and Bellevue. The them is "Capture The Pride Flag". It starts at 6 p.m. with safety checks and game rules in Covington's Goebel Park (Mainstrasse Village). The ride begins at 6:30 p.m. and ends with an after-party picnic at Piper's Cafe.
 
At 8:30 p.m., at Goebel Park, a memorial service will be held for local activist Michael Connett who died earlier this month.
 
On Saturday morning, the wellness initiative continues with the first annual Health & Wellness Expo, also in Goebel Park, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Local health and fitness providers will sponsor different activities, including Queer Yoga and other fitness activities.
 
NKY PrideFest follows at Goebel Park from noon to 7 p.m. The festival takes place in the park and along the Sixth Street Promenade where many family, pet, and ally-friendly activities will be available as well as education and art exhibits.
 
Entertainment will be provided throughout the day on the Pride stage where Jamison Road will headline. A pet psychic, pet costume contest, and pet parade will be from noon to 2 p.m. A Doggie Drag Race, where the drag is provided if you bring the pup, will feature dogs racing in drag.
 
On Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., the pub crawl visits Rosie's Tavern, Pike Street Lounge, Wunderbar, and Bar 32. A pair of DJs will provide transportation if needed.
 
Pride ends on Sunday with a Celebration Brunch at 11 a.m. at the Radisson 360 in Covington.
 
Fairness Sponsor: Toyota Pub Crawl Sponsors: Bar 32, Pike Street Lounge, Rosie's Tavern, and Wunderbar Pet Zone Sponsors: Firestone Tire, Strasse Dog, and Wilson Design Community Ally Sponsor: Fairness Campaign, Wells Fargo, Piper's Cafe, BLDG, Below Zero Lounge, Joe & Dale Meyer Health & Wellness Sponsor: Walgreens Friends of Pride: CNKY Scene, Center for Great Neighborhoods, Roebling Point Books & Coffee, Bank of Kentucky, HomeStyle, Kelley's Kloset, Stefanie Adams, Main Bite, and The River City News
 
-Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News