Pride comes to Warren

The first Full Spectrum Pride in the Valley Festival will take place Saturday in downtown Warren.

The event is organized by Full Spectrum Community Outreach Center in Struthers, which was created to promote awareness, education and mental and emotional health while advocating for the Mahoning Valley’s LGBT community.

Daniel Tirabassi, gender and sexuality director for Full Spectrum, said, “We wanted to include all of the area, the entire Valley, not just Youngstown, not just Warren. We wanted to include all of the community to create the festival and ended up in Warren because we just found it to be a better place with Courthouse Square so big and set up the way it is.”

The event was created to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, demonstrations that occurred in 1969 in New York City following a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, which catered to a gay clientele. It is considered one of the pivotal events in the gay rights movement.

“We wanted to educate the community about why pride festivals actually occur,” Tirabassi said. “Some people just don’t understand why there is a pride movement. We’ll include a little bit of information about why pride festivals are important, not just to the LGBTQ community but the entire community as a whole and why supporting them is important to the rights of all people.”

The festival will start with a parade around Courthouse Square at 12:30 p.m. Tirabassi said the grand marshals will be a 12-year-old transgender boy who goes by the name of Phoenix, and Wes Stevens, manager of Club Switch in Youngstown.

“Phoenix is a friend of the center for a couple years now and just shows the light of our future,” Tirabassi said. “Wes is a big contributor to the LGBT community as a whole and deserves the recognition for all the work he put into the community.”

Entertainment during the festival includes drag shows at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, the Cleveland Transgender Choir at 5:45 p.m., Denise Russell at 6 p.m., the cast of Youngstown Playhouse’s upcoming production of “Dreamgirls” at 6:30 p.m., singer Quinn Tsunami at 8:30 p.m. and singer Anthony Covatta at 9 p.m.

The event also will include juggler / fire-breather Shane Glaeser and Drag Queen storytime.

Admission is free.