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A group of people walking in the parade carry a giant LGBTQ+ flag down the middle of the street in a pride parade in Akron, Ohio on Aug. 24, 2019.

Thousands of festival-goers attended the third annual Akron Pride Festival on Saturday. 

The parade began at Highland Square and made its 1.5 mile trek up West Market Street before arriving at Hardesty Park to a cacophony of applause and cheers. 

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Miss Akron, the winner of APF Drag Battle, walks in the Akron Pride Parade waving to the spectators on Aug. 24, 2019.

“It’s amazing. I didn’t expect there to be this many people,” said Ellie Davis, a junior advertising major. “I went to Pride in Pittsburgh last year and it was great to see cities like Akron and Pitt[sburgh] get so involved.”

Those marching in the parade were representatives from banks, power companies, churches, student organizations and many more groups came from around the state. The North Coast Men’s Chorus, self proclaimed as “the largest LGBT arts organization in Northeast Ohio” according to its website, marched and sang the entire route.

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Two people hold handmade signs in a Pride Parade held in Akron, Ohio on Aug. 24, 2019.

More than 200 vendors from all over Northeast Ohio set up shop at the park. Kent State’s Fusion Magazine had a tent at the festival, as well as the Kent State Hotel and Conference Center. Director of Sales and Catering Mary Kline said she came to help make people aware of the hotel and all the amenities they offer that the LGBTQ+ community can take advantage. 

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Cyrus Adkins, a freshman digital media production major, receives a “Free Mom Hug” from a parade member in the Pride parade in Akron, Ohio Aug. 24, 2019.

“Not many people know there’s a hotel in downtown Kent," Kline said. "We really just want to help make people aware that we’re here and ready to serve."

Sales Manager Jannie Jordan said the hotel is prepared to host plenty of events.

“We host weddings, dinner parties and all kinds of other events, so it’s really about outreach and awareness for us,” she said. 

The festival featured live music, dance and other performances. Festival-goers also enjoyed a variety of food options from 12 food trucks.

David Williams is a reporter. Contact him at dwill191@kent.edu

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