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SC Pride festival and parade canceled

SC Pride, scheduled for the weekend of October 16, has been canceled due to COVID-19.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Famously Hot SC Pride Festival and Parade, scheduled for the weekend of October 16, has been canceled due to COVID-19.

SC Pride draws more than 80,000 people to Main Street in Columbia every year. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, Jeff March, president of the SC Pride Movement, said the giant celebration just isn’t possible.

“Above all else, it is a safety issue. It’s a health issue, that’s our biggest concern. A lot of it comes down to, let’s be honest, how do we pay for it? With everybody being financially hurt right now from this pandemic, we don’t have the funds to move forward with any really big type of event.”

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SC Pride Festival and Parade is a celebration of love and support for everyone, and March said it also helps educate and connect people.

“[Pride] is the time of year when the LGBT community in South Carolina can come out and be themselves with no fear. So, it’s also a time when so many people come out for the very first time. They just celebrate and witness what pride is all about. There are a lot of booths there that provide information that they’re going to need with all the issues of the LGBT community today. So, it’s a lot of outreach, it’s a lot of celebration for one another but it also provides a huge comfort zone for so many people that come out for the first time.”

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Organizers said they are sad to cancel SC Pride, their largest annual event, but they’re looking for other ways to celebrate instead.

“We are going to celebrate during pride week. We are going to be a very visible presence. Now is the time not to just lay down and be quiet, we’ve got to still be visible and make our presence known in Columbia, South Carolina.”