Indy Pride, Inc. is making a concerted effort to increase access to this year’s festival.

The 2024 Indy Pride Festival and Parade promises a day of entertainment, food and drinks and community celebration beginning with the parade in downtown Indianapolis and continuing the festival in Military Park on June 8. However, this year will introduce a few new elements to increase access and make the event an even more welcoming place, Indy Pride Festival Director Jeff Kuhn said.

“It’s always just so exciting for me and refreshing to just see all the smiling faces there,” Kuhn said. “I mean, you see all different demographics, all different age ranges, queer folks, our allies, sponsors, business partners around town, you just see a little bit of everyone there and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.”

Presented by the Delta Faucet Company, the Indy Pride Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Massachusetts and College Avenues before traveling southwest to New York Street and north on Delaware Street before ending on Michigan Avenue. The parade is free to attend and will feature just under 200 units, including floats, walkers, nonprofits, local organizations and bands.

“The Indy Pride Parade remains one of the longest running fundraisers for the organization,” Larry Ervin, Indy Pride parade director, said in an email. “The parade brings together so many Hoosiers across the State to celebrate and amplify the voices of the LGBTQIA community. Viewers can expect bold and beautiful presentations of LGBTQIA Pride. We look forward to welcoming members of our LGBTQIA community and our allies to an amazing community event.”

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This year’s headlining musical act is The Beaches, an all-female rock band from Canada. Entertainment for the day spans across three stages and includes live DJs, drag performances and a variety of local and national musical artists on the 1-800-Quit-Now Main Stage — such as Vincint, Thelma Houston, Venbee, Lauren Sanderson, Aura Mayari & Ongina and Silky Nutmeg Ganache.

Food and beverage vendors, games and activities — such as a bounce house, face painting, a community zone and misting tent — will be spread out throughout the festival grounds in Military Park and areas of IUPUI South Meadow, Kuhn said.

The 2024 Indy Pride Festival will feature a variety of musical artists, DJs and Drag performances throughout each of the three stages, including headlining band The Beaches. (Photo/BRITTNEY ELIZABETH photography)

New to the festival this year is the Indianapolis Monthly Mellochella area, or what is essentially “a sober lounge on steroids,” Kuhn said. The area also includes a sensory zen zone, sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, which offers counseling and de-escalation to provide a safe space for those with sensory needs to relax or decompress.

“We’re really trying to take a focus, again, on making a space for everybody,” Kuhn said. “I’m really excited for that space to be added. I think that’s gonna be really exciting and just a different offering for folks that we haven’t really expanded on before.”

In the past, Kuhn said Indy Pride passed out free bottled water courtesy of Meijer and had three refill stations to encourage guests to use reusable water bottles. Thanks to Sun King Brewery, who is providing refrigerated sprinter vans, the water will be cold to help guests combat the heat and dehydration.

Indy Pride is also increasing their efforts on accessibility to make the festival even more welcoming to guests of all ages and abilities. Kuhn said they partnered with Limitless Ability and Luna Language Services to provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters on screen at each of the stages with accessible viewing areas around the mainstage.

Leading up to the festival on June 8, the organization is hosting public events around the city just about every day starting with Pet Pride which takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 1 at Riverside Park, Kuhn said. Other events include an Interfaith Pride Celebration, Community Picnic and Bat ‘n Rouge, Deaf Pride, Pride Community Music Night and more. 

The 2024 Indy Pride Festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on June 8 at Military Park, W. New York St. and areas of IUPUI South Meadow. Tickets are $10 online and $12 at the door. The festival has a clear bag policy and is smoke free. Parking is available in IUPUI garages and through Gate Ten Events & Parking. There will be wheelchair accessible shuttles. For more information, visit indypride.org.

Contact Arts & Culture Reporter Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848. Follow her on X @chloe_mcgowanxx.