The organizers of the annual Baltimore Pride Month events have decided to move part of the festivities back into the heart of Mount Vernon to accommodate growing attendance, which is projected this year to be 100,000 people.

The weekend festivities will begin on Friday, June 14, and continue with a parade and block party on Saturday, June 15, at Charles Street and North Avenue. Pride in the Park will be held Sunday, June 16, in Druid Hill Park.

A 50-person committee chose the location of West Read Street for Friday’s “Mt. Vernon Pride.” A majority of Baltimore Pride events had been held in Mount Vernon until 2017, when the event moved north to the Old Goucher neighborhood.

Site decisions this year ultimately reflect the growth of the state’s largest pride month celebration, according to Pride Center Maryland, which runs Pride Month events in Baltimore.

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“In response to this growth, Baltimore Pride is excited to announce an expansion of its footprint, ensuring that Pride remains accessible, inclusive, safe, and a true reflection of the diversity within the LGBTQ/SGL community,” a release states.

Leadership for Pride Center Maryland, which ultimately runs Pride Month events in Baltimore, could not immediately be reached to comment further about particulars of Friday’s event, called “Mt. Vernon Pride.”

In February, a potential move created buzz and concern among the city’s LGBTQ community. The Mount Vernon site was one of five potential locations — including various areas that ranged from near North Avenue and University of Baltimore to areas near the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Lyric Baltimore, where Artscape was held last year.

“I am thrilled for Baltimore Pride to extend its footprint and include Mt. Vernon. For years, Baltimore Pride has convened in Mt. Vernon, and we’re eager to ensure that this historical gayborhood in Baltimore is part of its longstanding tradition,” Lisa Suite, chair of Mt. Vernon Pride, said in a prepared statement.

In a release, Tramour Wilson, senior director of advocacy and community engagement for Pride Center Maryland, said the organization’s “foremost commitment is to uphold Pride as a beacon and cornerstone for the community.”

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He added: “As Pride continues to expand, we anticipate changes and challenges, but I am confident that the Pride committee is well-prepared to navigate whatever comes our way.”

Wilson did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.

This year’s theme, “Power of the Past, Force of the Future,” will embrace all the gains of the past, but also continue the work of advocating for equity, justice, and safe access to well-being and protection for diverse communities,” according to a release.

Cleo Manago, executive director of Pride Center of Maryland, the state’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources to the LGBTQ community, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the announcement.

John-John Williams IV is a diversity, equity and inclusion reporter at The Baltimore Banner. A native of Syracuse, N.Y. and a graduate of Howard University, he has lived in Baltimore for the past 17 years.

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