After the Rain Comes the Rainbow: Kent State at Akron Pride
After two days of heavy rains and intense winds across Northeast Ohio, the skies cleared, creating perfect weather for this year’s Akron Pride Festival, which took place on Saturday, Aug. 26, in downtown Akron. Roughly 30,000 people were expected to attend this year’s event.
“It seems like every year it grows and grows. It continues to amaze me,” said Ken M. Ditlevson, a Kent State University alumnus who serves as the director of Kent State's LGBTQ+ Center.
The Kent State LGBTQ+ Center provides shuttle busses to the Akron Pride Festival each year. About 35 Kent State University students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered to take part in the Akron Equity March, which kicked off this year’s events.
The Pride Festival was a full-day event, taking place on Main Street in Downtown Akron. The celebration included drag, DJ and musical performances, a Pride Heroes activity area for kids, food and vendors, and ended with fireworks.
Kent State’s Admissions and Enrollment teams were also on-hand at the event, recruiting students to the university, which for the past three consecutive years has been named as one the nation’s top universities for LGBTQ+ students by Campus Pride.
Upcoming Kent State LGBTQ+ Events
Mark your calendar for eighth-annual Rainbow Run at 7 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Risman Plaza on the Kent Campus. Coordinated by the Kent State LGBTQ+ Center, the Rainbow Run helps provide funding to replenish the LGBTQ+ Emergency Fund, which supports KSU students who are in crisis, often after being disowned by family for coming out as LGBTQ.
“It’s a critical fund that helps about 50 students every year,” said Ditlevson. “It’s a really fun event but a critical one,” he said, adding that the fund is currently running low.
The Rainbow Run will kick off Kent Rainbow Weekend Oct. 13-14, which will include a number of events in downtown Kent, such as art exhibits, “Courageously Queer” storytelling, live music, Safe Space training, speaker panels, and more.