INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indy Pride Festival is underway downtown and the event is expected to bring in a crowd that may break festival records.
Indy Pride officials said 20,000 tickets were pre-sold for this year’s event. That’s 10 times the amount pre-sold last year.
Chris Handberg, executive director of Indy Pride, credits the jump in part to the huge community in Indianapolis that supports Pride. But he also credits this year’s headlining act, Lizzo, who hits the main stage just before 9 p.m. Saturday.
Indy Pride kicked off at 10 a.m. with the Cadillac Barbie Indy Pride Parade. The parade started on Massachusetts and College avenues and traveled along Mass Ave.
The festival is expected to bring thousands to Military Park Saturday where there will be a family fun zone, live music on three stages and 250 vendors.
Indy Pride takes over downtown Indianapolis with message of community
Barb Reeves is selling handmade jewelry as a first time-vendor at the Indy Pride Festival this year. She told News 8 she wanted to participate this year in memory of her daughter who committed suicide.
Reeves, wearing a shirt that said “Free Hugs,” said the festival gives her a chance to support others by offering up free hugs.
While the Pride Festival is about the fun and celebration, organizers say the weekend also holds a deeper meaning.
“This is the day that we can be ourselves. That we can hold our partners’ hands, spouses’ hands, and not feel ashamed or embarrassed,” said Chris Handberg, executive director of Indy Pride. “We don’t have to explain to people, we don’t have to answer awkward questions. We can just be with our people and laugh and celebrate. It’s something special.”
Indy Pride officials said they are working with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Southport police to make sure everyone attending the event stays safe.