By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKC Pride Week 2015 will be held June 15-21 on the 39th Street Strip at 39th & N. Pennsylvania Ave. The week’s events will include a free outdoor concert and Block Party on Friday June 19, an Arts Festival, Saturday and Sunday, June 20-21, closing with the OKC Pride Parade on Sunday June 21.
The theme for OKC Pride 2015 is “Together, Equal, Proud.” It represents the unity the organization has between the LGBT community and its supporters and the pride they have in their history and individuality.
“OKC Pride 2015 looks to be the biggest and best Pride event in our history,” said Michael Clark, OKC Pride President.
A ribbon cutting will officially start OKC Pride Week on Monday at 5:30 pm at the Expressions Community Church, 2245 NW 39th. This family friendly event, sponsored by Expressions and Ingrid’s Kitchen, will include local politicians, religious and community leaders.
Also on Monday, Diva’s Dinner & Show to benefit OKC Pride will take place at the Copa, 2200 NW Expressway. The event features Kevin Wiley and a star line up of talent including Sonja Martinez. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. For reservations call 405-525-0730.
OKC Pride Day at the Zoo will take place on Wednesday, June 17. Discounted admission, educational seminars and free testing provided.
Other events include a bowling tournament, a costume contest, the Pride Family Festival and more.
The highlight of the Friday night Block Party is an open-air concert at 8 p.m. which will feature this year’s musical guests The Village People and En Vogue.
The annual two-day Pride Festival will have booths from a variety of organizations, including local food trucks, regional artists, national corporations, activist organizations and campaigns, local churches and businesses.
“We are so proud of this festival’s success. We are committed to growing this festival each year into a truly top-notch event,” said Clark.
The 3rd Annual Equality 5k/10k Run and 1-mile Walk will begin at 8:30 am on Saturday, June 20 at Wiley Post Park in downtown Oklahoma City. For details and to register, visit FreedomOklahoma.com.
On Oct. 6, 2014, same-sex marriages began in Oklahoma. To celebrate, the Love is Love first ever legal mass wedding ceremony will allow participants a chance to renew their vows or commitment on Saturday, June 20 at 2 p.m. on the 39th St. Main Stage.
Each couple must purchase a marriage license in advance and bring it to the event unless they are renewing their vows. Registration is $40 and preregistration is required at okcpride.org.
“To conclude our Pride Week each year, we celebrate inclusiveness, diversity and community in a dazzling afternoon parade,” Clark said. “The City of OKC has recently confirmed this event to be the largest parade in the city.”
In 2014 more than 32,000 people attended the Pride parade.
“The Central Oklahoma Two-Spirit Society will be doing the Grand Entry for the OKC Pride Parade this year,” Clark said. “It’s a historical event in its self, no other time in history have Native Americans led a Pride Parade.”
This year’s Grand Marshall is Mary Arbuckle, Executive Director of Other Options, Inc. and Other Options Food Pantry, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to those living with HIV/AIDS.
The ever-popular parade will step off on Sunday, June 21 at 6 p.m. and include floats, walking groups and vehicles representing the diversity and full spectrum of the community. The parade travels from NW 36th and Classen north, turning west on 39th Street to Youngs Blvd.
“We are so proud of the community that our parade represents, and we are excited to keep on bringing this top-notch event to the city,” Clark stated.
“Please get involved, volunteer, donate, register for the festival, enter the parade or just plan to join us for a great time,” Clark said.
For more information and the complete Pride Week calendar, visit okcpride.org.