Crews spent the majority of Friday afternoon hard at work setting up for this weekend’s Pride on 39th Street festival.
A complete weekend of festivities, including a parade Sunday, are scheduled.
“To see this place coming to life the way it is, is just heartwarming to say the least,” said Tessa White, president of Pride on 39th.
White said there is a much different feeling in the air compared to festivals prior. COVID-19 being the reason why.
“We really haven’t gotten together for Pride because we missed last year,” said White. “You just feel the excitement leading up to this event and now it is just off the charts.”
The Pride on 39th board worked closely with the local health department and said they’re happy with their mitigation plans.
In addition to hand sanitizer, COVID testing is on site as are all brand name vaccines.
“The LGBT community is roughly 92% to 93% fully vaccinated by statics,” said White. “We just wanted to make sure we had testing on site. We were also going to make sure that people know that if they were not vaccinated or have health conditions, we ask them to stay home.”
Sarah Hearts is part of a vendor from Tulsa. COVID-19 is changing the way she’s doing business.
“Definitely sanitizing our hands, not touching our faces, kind of staying back from customers just keeping an eye on them,” said Hearts.
Singer, Youtuber and dancer Todrick Hall is scheduled to perform at the Jack Daniels Live Freely stage Friday at 11 p.m.
Hall, who is from the Texas panhandle, launched his career on the 2010 season of American Idol.
Being back in Oklahoma, Hall said, feels like home.
“I feel like I have roots in Oklahoma,” said Hall. “My grandparents live here. It is really awesome to be back and I’m so flattered and honored to be the headliner.”
Concert goers are expected to feel an entire range of emotions.
“You can have an emotional moment and a fun moment and make people laugh and want to dance, especially right now in the middle of the pandemic,” said Hall. “I just want people to come tonight and have a great time to dance, to laugh and maybe shed a tear or two.”
With numerous TV appearances to date, one recently has taken the cake. Hall accepted an MTV VMA award after appearing in Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down” music video.
“It was such a surreal full circle moment when I was on stage holding a VMA, talking to people and hopefully reaching other people that are like me, young LGBTQ+ people, young people of color, who are watching the VMA’s and until recently haven’t been able to see themselves represented,” said Hall.
Performing at Pride on 39th is one thing, Hall said there is a message that comes with it.
“Open up your hearts. Try to for two seconds to understand what it must be like to grow up in this area where you might be an ugly duckling just for being brave enough to share with the world who you really are,” said Hall.