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Grand Rapids Pride Festival to Celebrate its 35th Year This Weekend

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Jazz McKinney, the Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Pride Center, joins Phil Tower in the WYCE studio ahead of the 2023 Grand Rapids Pride Festival
Jazz McKinney in the WYCE studio with Phil Tower

Jazz McKinney in the WYCE studio with Phil Tower /Alaynna Dressler

Jazz McKinney, the Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Pride Center, was recently interviewed by Phil Tower for WYCE's Community Connection. In this interview, they discussed the Grand Rapids Pride Center, McKinney's role as Executive Director, and the upcoming Grand Rapids Pride Festival

The 2023 Grand Rapids Pride Festival will take place at Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids from 12:00pm to 10:00pm on Saturday, June 17. Attendees will be able to enjoy a wide variety of entertainment, refreshments, merchandise, and more at this celebration. According to McKinney, the Grand Rapids Pride Festival has partnered with the Grand Rapids Food Truck Association to have 15+ food trucks at this event. Festival-goers can also partake in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at the festival's beer garden, participate in family-friendly activities, listen to live talks and music (featuring this year's headliner, Robin S), utilize testing services, browse merch from over 150 vendors, and more.

No matter what, there is bound to be something there for everyone.

However, to Jazz McKinney, the Grand Rapids Pride Festival is about more than just food trucks, vendor booths, and live music:

"I think... the best part about Pride is being able to see the community, see that we are here, see... the LGBTQ community being happy and free and joyful and being able to take time to just be themselves without having to worry about all this stuff going on in the world. If we can be a part of just giving them at least one day where they can feel safe and free and joyful, that's what we want to do."

According to the Grand Rapids Pride Center's website, the first Pride Celebration took place in Grand Rapids in June 1988. That makes 2023 the 35th year of the Grand Rapids Pride Festival. 

While there is no fee for admission to the Grand Rapids Pride Festival, donations to the Grand Rapids Pride Center will be gratefully accepted. With a mission of "empowering our LGBTQ+ community through supportive services and awareness," the Grand Rapids Pride Center offers many vital resources and services (such as support groups, the Health Equity and Therapy Assistance Programs, and more) to those that need them.

For more information about the Grand Rapids Pride Center and to learn about their various programs and services, visit their website.  


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