Rodney Coffman | Courtesy of Kentuckiana Pride Foundation

On Friday, June 15, the annual Kentuckiana Pride Parade will take a new route to the Big Four Lawn to officially kick off this year’s Kentuckiana Pride Festival. The inclusive event often draws large crowds as it makes its way through the streets of downtown.

The group behind the event, which celebrates the LGBTQ community in Louisville, has been working behind the scenes for months to secure the entertainment, plan the new route and figure out the logistics of a new venue.

The Pride Fest used to be held at the Belvedere, but Kentuckiana Pride Foundation (KPF) President Rodney Coffman tells Insider they simply outgrew that space.

“By moving, we are able to bring in more vendors, activities for the attendees and continue our growth,” he says.

Coffman, who works in retail management for a national pet store, has been working with the KPF for 17 years, serving in different roles throughout that span and eventually becoming the organization’s president four years ago. He believes the Pride Festival is needed now more than ever.

“It’s important to have a destination for individuals to go to, where they know they are accepted no matter who they are or identify as,” he says. “Society can be tough, and if we can provide an outlet, we should.”

Kentuckiana Pride begins Friday with the annual parade at 7 p.m. | Courtesy of Kentuckiana Pride Foundation

That outlet not only provides a safe and accepting space for everyone, but it also includes a full lineup of national and regional acts, LGBTQ-friendly vendors, food, drinks and much more. National artists include Big Freedia, Lizzo, Brooke Candy, CeCe Peniston, Brandon Stansell, Katie Pruitt and more. Local artists featured are Bridge 19, Bungalow Betty, DJ Syimone, Voices of Kentuckiana, Bathroom Laws and others.

Coffman says he is looking forward to a couple of things.

“Overall, it’s the love and smiles I will encounter,” he explains. “However, I’m not going to lie — it’s also hanging out with Big Freedia, Lizzo and the awesome entertainers.”

The Pride Parade starts at 7 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Preston and Market streets. It’ll travel north on Preston to River Road, finishing at the Big Four Lawn where WFPK’s Waterfront Wednesday is normally held. The Pride Festival continues that night until 11 p.m. and starts back up on Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. Admission is $5 at the gate.

We caught up with Coffman before the madness begins to ask him some very important questions …

Why not?

What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?

That I want to skydive. Who says they want to jump out of a perfectly functioning plane? I want to say I did it.

What poster was on your wall in junior high?

Wow, this is going way back. I wasn’t really into posters, but I do recall one about running. I was a runner back in those days.

If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?

There are so many deserving individuals, but the first person who came to mind was Chris Hartman with Fairness [Campaign]. He is a dear friend who is motivated to make a difference within our community.

What are your preferred pizza toppings?

Banana peppers.

If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?

100 — I’ve had a good life so far and have hope it will continue for many years. I’m doubtful 100 is there, so why not try it for a week?

The doctor is in.

What famous person do people say you resemble the most?

I don’t feel I resemble any famous person. But to give you an answer, I will go with Dr. Phil. We’re both bald-headed with a beard.

Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?

I have been stuck in an elevator alone. I’m claustrophobic, so instantly I think of my partner Chuck Martin. He knows how to calm me down. If you’re looking for a famous person, I’m going with James Corden for the laughs.