Indy Pride Festival

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Main Stage, 2007

Indy Pride Festival, formerly Circle City IN Pride, is the annual week of LGBT pride events in Indianapolis. The week is organized by LGBT organization Indy Pride, Inc., and has been held under this name and organization for over a decade. In recent years, more than 95,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual people have attended Circle City IN Pride Festival.[1] Indy Pride's Parade and Festival is held the 2nd Saturday in June, with a week of events leading up to it, in honor of the Stonewall Riots and in accordance with other United States pride festivals. Indy Pride Festival is the largest LGBT pride event in Indiana.

"The festival and events are to celebrate gay pride and bring the community together. We're trying to bring visibility to the greater Indianapolis community of how many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people there are here." - former Indy Pride President, Gary Brackett.


  • Indy Pride began in 1996 as a week-long celebration of events. Jeffrey Cleary and Bill McKinley served as Co-Chairs for the city's first ever pride week. The celebration held 10 events in seven days, culminating with a pride fair on the downtown Indy Canal.[2]
  • The first Indy Pride Parade stepped off in 2002. The first parade was small with only eight participants and lasted 15 minutes. It has since grown into a 2-hour-plus-long event.[3]
  • In 2011, the festival broke records by attracting a record estimate 70,000 attendees.[1]
  • In 2012, the week of events opened with the new "Rainbow 5k Run/Walk".[4] The festival saw the addition of a 2nd stage, as well as an expansion in family-friendly entertainment.[5]


Main Stage, 2009, Singer Kat DeLuna.

The festival consists of several attractions for the LGBTQ community and allies, to browse and watch. There are several booths sponsored by local LGBT groups catering to the community as a whole, as well as special interest groups. Other booths throughout the park are sponsored by local businesses that support the LGBT community. Surrounding the park, food vendors and other businesses also have displays set up to show support and market to the community. The centerpiece of the event is the main stage that is erected to overlook the event. Here local and national talents perform, providing entertainment for the crowd. Performances include the Pride of Indy Band, singers, national recording artists, drag performances, DJs and speeches. Performances can range from pure entertainment, such as RuPaul who performed at the close of the festival in 2006 and Kat DeLuna who performed in 2009, to informational speeches, such as that from Candace Gingrich, who in 2007, gave a speech for the Human Rights Campaign on same-sex marriage issues. In 2012, the festival added a 2nd stage dedicated to DJs and dance music, as well as an area designated for family friendly entertainment.

2013 marked the 25th year of Indy's public LGBT Pride celebration.


Estimated annual attendance, beginning with 2005:

  • 2005: 20,000
  • 2006: 25,000 [1]
  • 2007: 32,000 [2]
  • 2008: 35,000 [3]
  • 2009: 45,000, located at University Park
  • 2010: 55,000, located at American Legion Mall[6]
  • 2011: 70,000, located at American Legion Mall & Veterans Memorial Plaza[1]
  • 2012: 80,000, located at American Legion Mall & Veterans Memorial Plaza[7]
  • 2013: 85,000, located at American Legion Mall & Veterans Memorial Plaza[8]
  • 2014: 95,000, located at American Legion Mall & Veterans Memorial Plaza[9]
  • 2015: 106,000, located at American Legion Mall & Veterans Memorial Plaza[10]
  • 2016: 110,000, located at American Legion Mall & Veterans Memorial Plaza
  • 2017: TBD, located at Military Park
  • 2018: TBD, located at Military Park
  • 2019: TBD, located at Military Park


Although the event is generally welcomed by the city, with vocal support having come from both Indianapolis former-mayor Bart Peterson and Indiana congresswoman Julia Carson, it is not without its opposition. Each year, Circle City IN Pride draws a small number of protestors who voice their opposition to the event. Their opposition is expressed both verbally and on hand-made signs, and is often based on their religious beliefs. Although this group can often be very good at making themselves known, their presence seldom affects the mood of the event.

Cadillac Barbie Indy Pride Parade[edit]

Cadillac Barbie IN Pride Parade on Mass Ave in 2009.

The annual parade began in 2002, and runs from Mass Ave, which is the city's unofficial gayborhood, to the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Parade grand marshals have included celebrities and politicians, including the late congresswoman Julia Carson. The parade grew to more than 100 floats and participants by 2009.[11]

Grand marshals[edit]

  • 2006: Julia Carson, congresswoman
  • 2007: Del Shores, writer and producer
  • 2009: Broadway cast of Wicked
  • 2010: The Bag Ladies
  • 2011: Cadillac Barbie (Gary K. Brackett), founder
  • 2012: Jordan Windle, youngest diver to ever qualify for the USA Diving Olympic Team Trials, and adopted son of two fathers.[12]
  • 2013: IYG (Indiana Youth Group)[13]
  • 2014: Coburn "Coby" Palmer (one of the original Indy Pride Bag Ladies), Layshia Clarendon, point guard for the Indiana Fever, Megan Roberson of Freedom Indiana, and Rick Sutton of Indiana Equality Action for their efforts in the law arena.[14]
  • 2015: Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis[15]
  • 2016: Alice Langford, community advocate; and Betty Wilson, president and CEO of The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Inc.[16]
  • 2017: Chris Paulsen and Deanna Medsker, LGBTQ rights advocates[17]
  • 2018: Finley C. Norris, Margaret Irish, Mark A. Lee, Terrell Parker, Jenna Scott, Wes Scott
  • 2019: Shelly Fitzgerald, Senator JD Ford, Trinity Haven, and Low Pone

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Smith, Erika D. (2011-06-12). "Communities | Indianapolis Star". Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  2. ^ "Publications". GLAAD. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  3. ^ Jarosz, Francesca (2007-06-09). "Communities | Indianapolis Star". Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  4. ^ Harvey, Jay (2012-05-29). "ENTERTAINMENT | Indianapolis Star". Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  5. ^ Taflinger, Neal (2012-05-31). "Communities | Indianapolis Star". Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  6. ^ Becker, Gretchen (2010-06-13). "Communities | Indianapolis Star". Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  7. ^ "History of CCINP - Circle City IN Pride 2014". 1988-06-26. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  8. ^ "Indianapolis Monthly: Indy Pride Festival Reaches Record Attendance—85,000". 2013-06-13.
  9. ^ "Indianapolis Monthly: 2014's Record-Breaking Indy Pride". 2014-06-15.
  10. ^ "Indianapolis Star: Amid 50,000 at Pride parade, a show of corporate support". 2015-06-16.
  11. ^ "Circle City IN Pride Parade". Archived from the original on 2009-05-21. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  12. ^ "Circle City IN Pride - Grand Marshal".
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Indy Pride, Inc., Announces Your Grand Marshals for the 2014 Cadillac Barbie Pride Parade".
  15. ^ "Circle City IN Pride - Grand Marshal".
  16. ^ "2016 Grand Marshals Announced".
  17. ^ "2017 Grand Marshals".