Covington Embraces Pride as Financial Sponsor of Weekend Event
The 12th annual celebration of NKY Pride begins this week with the City of Covington as a financial sponsor and Covington as the site of an array of festivities – conscious decisions by city officials to again send a strong statement that the LGBTQ community is a meaningful part of the fabric of Northern Kentucky’s largest city, a news release said.
The front window of City Hall on Pike Street was decorated this week in the colors of a pride flag.
Events include a festival Sunday in Goebel Park, a “reverse” parade featuring Covington businesses and organizations, a beer-tapping party at Braxton Brewing Co. at Thursday evening’s kickoff, a drag show, and a sidewalk sale of clothing and swag at the soon-to-open NKY Pride Center on Pike Street.
City officials said the embrace of inclusivity was both the “right” thing to do and the “smart” thing as Covington works to strengthen its local economy: A economic development strategy written by a national site selection consultant specifically saluted Covington’s history as “a pathfinder and leader of human rights policies” and concluded that its reputation for being “welcoming” was a positive factor that helped Covington attract creative talent – and thus businesses – from out of town.
“Underlying the fun is a clear message: Everybody is welcome in the Cov,” Economic Development Director Tom West said. “When we recruit talented workers to Covington, we don’t set up barriers related to sexual orientation and gender identity, nor do we hide our openness. Our ability to be sincere and authentic in marketing our welcoming attitude is paying off, judging by the vibrant energy in our business districts and considerable economic momentum.”
Organizers of NKY Pride 2021 said the COVID-19 pandemic again forced changes in tradition: The annual parade through Covington’s streets won’t happen for the second year in a row, and both the “Official After-Party” and Community Awards Celebration have been delayed until autumn.
“It’ll look a little different, but the 2021 version will feature the same excitement with the same purpose: Bringing the community together to show support for LGBTQ members and causes and to bring awareness of resources and ongoing threats,” said Bonnie Meyer, co-chair of NKY Pride.
NKY Pride 2021 details:
· Kickoff and Rooftop Drag Show (with Sarah Jessica Darker): 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday (tomorrow) at Braxton Brewing Company. The show starts at 6 p.m., and the first 75 guests get free T-shirts. Braxton will mark the occasion (see HERE) with the unveiling (all weekend) of Pride Watermelon Wheat summer brew.
· NKY PrideFest: Noon to 5 p.m. at Goebel Park (and the Sixth Street Promenade). The festival will include refreshment booths (beer, frozen ice); entertainment booths (miniature golf, photos); and service vendors (a travel agency, a jobs center, and real estate). A major focus will be on booths that provide resources and services for the LGBTQA+ and ally communities, including health-care resources, mental health services, HIV/AIDS testing and education, faith-based services and more.
The festival will not include food, Meyer said, because festival organizers want people to patronize surrounding Covington restaurants. “There are so many choices within walking distance, and many will offer quick, pick-up options,” she said.
· A PrideArt installation (aka “reverse parade” or “walking tour”): Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Using this MAP, people can walk around Covington and check out Pride storefront installations, food and drink specials, art, music, and activities, including a picnic-table painting project, a book sale, and selfie stations.
· Sidewalk sale outside the (soon-to-open) NKY Pride Center at 230 W. Pike St.: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday (with anything left over available Sunday). On sale will be clothing and other Pride-related swag. With an earlier opening delayed by the pandemic, Meyer said the community center will both hold a grand opening celebration and begin operations next month. Plans include cultural, arts and social programming; legal support where needed; and training for employers, agencies, teachers, and others interested in becoming LGBTQ allies.
Organizers said COVID-19 safety precautions will be followed and enforced.
Despite the pandemic (or maybe because of it), they said that the Pride Center’s work, and the message of Pride Month, is particularly important this year, given that LGBTQ youth are among those who have suffered disproportionately throughout COVID and because trans youth are increasingly under attack from elected officials.
“We felt an obligation to the community to bring it together and show support in whatever way we could,” Bonnie Meyer said.