NKY Pride 2022: Week culminates with parade, festival in The Cov

Inclusivity part of City’s core identity,

economic development strategy

COVINGTON, Ky. – Whether you call them “unicorns” or “gargicorns” (to play off their gargoyle-esque vibe), the concrete magical beasts donated to the NKY Pride Center and installed on top of its Pike Street building late last week arrived just in time: NKY Pride 2022 kicks off with a youth event today and culminates Sunday in The Cov with a parade, festival, and after-party drag show.

The City of Covington is a major sponsor of the week, which for the past two years has been subdued because of the pandemic.

“It’s so good to be back, to be able to bring Northern Kentucky Pride back in all of its events, from the youth event to parade -- which we’ve missed so much the last two years -- to just the community coming together and being able to really kick it off,” said Bonnie Meyer, chair of the NKY Pride Center. “We’re happy to bring all this excitement back to Covington and move forward with everything that we hope to do through the Northern Kentucky Pride Center serving Northern Kentucky. It’s just so good to be back.”

The City, as it has in past years, will have at least one entry in Sunday’s parade, to show support for the LGBTQ community. That engagement, said the City’s Economic Development Director Tom West, is more than just “window dressing.”

“Our new manifesto states that our rainbow crosswalks are ‘not for show,’ and that’s our way of saying diversity and acceptance is not window dressing in Covington,” said West, referring to the Economic Development team’s new branding manifesto.

“They are genuine community values for us,” West said. “Our presence in the parade is a demonstration that all are welcome here. Our businesses need everyone’s talent, creativity, and dedication, regardless how anyone identifies themselves.”

In fact, an economic development strategy written by a national site selection consultant in 2019 specifically saluted Covington’s history as “a pathfinder and leader of human rights policies” and concluded that its reputation for being “welcoming” was a positive factor that helped Covington attract creative talent – and thus businesses – from out of town.

The City talks about its “welcoming and inclusive nature” on its ABOUT COVINGTON webpage.

‘More important than ever’

For Meyer, this year’s NKY Pride is “more important than ever.”

“I think coming off of the last two years where people were isolated and they were disconnected from resources and from support and from friends, and now with everything that’s happening in the world all around us, more than ever I think it’s important to come together as a community and celebrate and connect again,” she said. “So that’s what we’re looking to do with NKY Pride this year.”

Grand marshals for this year’s parade are Elijah Jump, whose drag persona is Sarah Jessica Darker, and Michael Cotrell, whose drag persona is Brooklyn Steele-Tate. Darker was voted one of the top drag queens in City Beat’s magazine’s “Best of 2022.”

Sarah Jessica was a NKY Pride emcee for the last five or six years, Meyer said, and Brooklyn was part of NKY Pride when it started.

“They’ve both given so much of their time when it was a puny little festival that got rained on every year -- they showed up,” Meyer said. “We’re honoring them as humans, not as their personas. They’ve done so much for NKY Pride. They’re just awesome and hardworking.”

Molly Mormen, voted “Best Drag Queen” in City Beat’s “Best of 2022,” will be the NKY Pride 2022 emcee.

Events in The Cov:

Tonight: NKY Pride 20TuTu Youth Party. Takes place at NKY Pride Center and is open to all NKY LGBTQ+A+ youth and allies. Event includes free swag, fun arts, games, tutus to make to wear in Sunday’s parade, and drag with P.H. Dee.

Wednesday: Queers with Gears – Pride Ride for Action is a group bike ride hosted by Lil’s Bagels and Queen City Bike at 6 p.m., starting at Lil’s Bagels.

Thursday: Official Kick-Off to NKY Pride – Drag Show and Watermelon Wheat Release at Braxton Brewing from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Open to all ages.

Saturday: Pride Pop-Up Shop at NKY Pride Center at 230 Pike St. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


  • NKY Pride Festival from 12 pm. to 5 p.m. at Goebel Park.
  • 2022 NKY Pride Parade will launch from Covington Riverfront at 1 p.m. (Route heads south on Madison Avenue, west on West Seventh, west on Pike, west on 9th, north on Main, and west on West 6th, ending at the park.)
  • Official Afterparty at Hotel Covington from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Open to all ages.

“A biggie is that everything is age-inclusive – even the Braxton Show and the Afterparty at Hotel Covington -- they’re open to all ages,” Meyer said. “Our performers know this, that it’s more of a PG event. Everything is very classy and fun.”

All event proceeds help the NKY Pride Center.


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