NASHVILLE, TN. (WSMV) – The Nashville Pride Festival was canceled last year due to COVID-19. Still, the popular event returns this weekend with some changes.

The Bicentennial Mall is the location for this year's Nashville Pride Festival.

"We have grown exponentially every year for the last couple of years," Community Affairs Director for Nashville Pride Phil Cobucci said. "We are at the point at the Public Square Park in 2019 that we were unable to continue to grow in that space. So we had to look at other venues."

Safety is a priority for organizers this year. The other new element is that festival-goers will require vaccination cards or proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within the last 72 hours.

"Everyone of our gates has a requirement to show a vaccine card or a negative PCR test. Those things are verified prior to letting you through security, and it's the very first thing we require," Cobucci said. "We are working our hardest to ensure a safe environment for everyone who attends."

These safety measures are good news for Marisa Richmond who plans to attend the festival.

"I am concerned about safety, but I think they are taking some reasonable precautions," Richmond said.

Preparations have already started for the Nashville Pride Festival two-day event, which kicks off on Saturday.

"The parade kicks off at 2nd and Union off of the Woodland Street Bridge. It wraps around Public Square Park and the State Capitol, dumping here into the Bicentennial Mall," Cobucci said.

Having the festival this year after last year's cancellation due to COVID-19 is exciting for those who plan to attend. Organizers said they believe they will exceed attendance numbers from previous years. They spoke about 70,000 people who participated in the festival in 2019.

"I think everybody is anxious to get out, and we all want to be safe and celebrate with one another, and that's what Pride is," Richmond said. "It's a celebration, and being able to do that again is something a lot of people are very excited about."

Organizers believe they will exceed attendance numbers from previous years. This year's Pride Fest is more significant with a bigger location, more vendors, and three stages for musical performances.

"We are strongly encouraging people to arrive via Uber, scooter, Lyft. However, you would like to arrive here. But there is a parking garage and parking close to the Nashville Sound area," Cobucci said.

Cobucci said tickets are still available and can be purchased at the gate at the festival or by clicking here.

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