Change to Kentuckiana Pride Fest could shift crowds away from local businesses
Nearly 20,000 people attended the event last year, and at least 40,000 at expected to attend this year.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Downtown Louisville is ready to welcome thousands of people to this weekend's annual Kentuckiana Pride Fest. But a change in location has some local businesses concerned they will miss out on the crowds.
Nearly 30,000 people attended the event last year, and at least 40,000 are expected to attend this year.
But after 18 years, organizers were forced to move the event from the Belvedere to the Great Lawn. And that moves all that foot traffic away from many downtown restaurants.
Against the Grain general manager Shane Benton says the festival has brought in customers in the six years he's worked at the restaurant on Main Street.
"It's definitely a boost to us in the area," Benton said. But parking will be restricted on Main Street until after the annual Pride Parade, and much of the foot traffic will head to the riverfront.
Kentuckiana Pride Fest president Rodney Coffman said they had to move the festival to a larger area. "Basically we've outgrown the Belvedere we utilize all three sections of the Belvedere. At a certain point we couldn't take any more vendors," he said.
Coffman said it's a good problem to have. "We get communications from CA and NY things like that. People are coming to Louisville so they're bringing the money here and obviously that impacts our city and our state," he added.
James George owns Scout. He says it's a major thing to have the Pride Parade closer to his gallery on Main and Preston Streets.
"The foot traffic that you can get from something like that is absolutely amazing," he said.
Pride Fest kicks off with a parade at 7 p.m. Friday. The traditionally colorful parade will begin at the intersection of Preston and Market Streets. The route will travel North on Preston Street past Slugger Field and to River Road. The parade will end at the Big Four Lawn just outside the Festival area. Friday's festival events run until 11 p.m.
The festival runs from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. It includes entertainment and fun zones for children and adults. For more information, CLICK HERE.
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