COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Stonewall Columbus is hoping recoup the money the organization lost over the weekend when heavy rains shutdown the Pride Festival.
The Pride Parade marched on with 196 groups of people braving the downpours that soaked to the bone. But Goodale Park flooded, forcing Columbus Police to close it.
In the 34-year history of the parade and festival, very few people can remember it raining as hard as it did.
Karla Rothan has served as the organization’s leader for nine years.
“I knew we were probably in a little trouble,” said Karla Rothan, Stonewall Columbus Executive Director. “But you wait until the last possible minute of course because of the loss, not just to Stonewall Columbus, but all the vendors that were a part of this festival.”
The cancellation of the festival put Stonewall Columbus is a $150,000 hole. With an annual budget of $800,000, Pride Weekend brings in 20 per cent of their annual costs.
There were 196 non-food vendors and 31 food vendors that were forced to evacuate the park when water in places reached three feet in-depth.
Rothan said the money is used to fund various programs for the LGBT community, including counseling services for couples, individuals, and others.
“I think our counseling program is really significant because a lot of people who come here, they might need help talking to someone,” said Rothan. “Maybe it’s couples counseling, individual. It could be drug and alcohol counseling, or people are changing their genders and they need free counseling.”
The group had insurance that will cover $50,000. And a beverage vendor has agreed to buy back the beer. But they still need the public’s help to help fill their rainy day fund.