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What to expect at the 2022 Grand Rapids Pride Festival

For the first time since the pandemic began, the Grand Rapids Pride Festival is welcoming everyone back in person this weekend.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — For the first time since the pandemic, the Grand Rapids Pride Festival is welcoming everyone back in person this weekend.

Last year's pride festival was virtual. That's why organizers say they are excited to see everybody again.

Billed as one of the largest one-day events in the city, the Grand Rapids Pride Festival brings together the LGBTQ community to celebrate diversity and inclusion.

This year's theme is "Together Again".

For its 34th year, the Grand Rapids Pride Festival will once again be at Calder Plaza downtown.

Like previous pride festivals, you can expect the same great entertainment including musical performances, a drag show, a family fun zone, delicious food options and more than 100 vendors.

Festivities run from noon to 10 p.m.

Organizers say the event plays an important role in the physical, emotional and mental health of the LGBTQ+ community.

"Besides being together again, we want you to be who you are and be free to be who you are without worrying about, you know, hopefully, any scorn or judgment or anything like that," said Jazz McKinney, Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Pride Center. "So, you know, it's very important for us to have an event like this to celebrate LGBTQ joy."

New this year, volunteer therapists will be there in case somebody needs to talk, especially given recent national news where 31 white supremacists were arrested for attempting to start a riot at a pride fest in Idaho.

Meanwhile, organizers of the Grand Rapids Pride Festival announced last week that the event will no longer have a police presence on site.

More than a dozen private security guards have been hired to address safety concerns.

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