COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was a sea of rainbows in downtown Columbus Saturday as Stonewall Columbus kicked off its first in-person pride event since the start of the pandemic.
The theme for this year's The People's Pride event put the people front and center as thousands of people were embraced by a welcoming atmosphere and celebrated decades of pride.
The Columbus Pride Band led more than 17,000 people marching down High Street to support and celebrate central Ohio's LGBTQ community. About 750,000 people attended the festivities on Friday and Saturday.
For Kegan Sulamoyo, the event reassured them that they would be accepted for who they were.
"This event is very welcoming, especially for me. I had my first pride in Cleveland a couple weeks ago and it felt very affirming to help people just accept me for who I am," Sulamoyo said.
After the march, the Pride Festival picked up at Goodale Park with resources and entertainment for everyone to enjoy.
Emmett Podgorski said pride celebrations are beginning to feel more mainstream, which equates to better acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
"It's like so mainstream now, which is really cool because it means more people are aware of the community and it's more accepted which is amazing," he said.
This year's Pride events were expected to attract more than 700,000 visitors, according to Stonewall Columbus. Some of them are experiencing Columbus pride for the first time.
"I'm really excited. I've only been to pride festivals in Cleveland and this is my first time in Columbus, so I'm really excited to see how the city does it," said Rohan Ryan.
Next week, Stonewall Columbus will host its Family Pride Network & Land-Grant Pride Event and the Stonewall Pride 5K.