GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This will be the first year since 1988 that Grand Rapids will not be hosting a pride festival.

The Grand Rapids Pride Center announced Tuesday that the 2020 Grand Rapids Pride Festival has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization is looking to host next year’s festival on Saturday, June 19, 2021.

“The queer community and its allies are there and they’re going to be there in 2021,” Grand Rapids Pride Center Executive Director Thomas Pierce said. “In 2020, the greatest concern is that this event is the largest fundraiser for our organization.”

The festival is the pride center’s largest fundraising event, helping pay for youth programs, health screenings, therapy assistance program and more.

Outside the Grand Rapids Pride Center. (File)

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Pierce said the center plans to use the downtime as an opportunity to reach out to a more diverse group ahead of next year’s festival. 

“Look inward and say, ‘Who are we missing, who are we not serving?'” Pierce said. “We don’t have this event that we have to worry about … (and) maybe it was shutting out some communities and this gives us the year to look at how do we not do that anymore and how do we reflect inward.” 

Donations can be made to Grand Rapids Pride Center online. More information on how you can help the GRPC can be found on its website.