Monday, October 3

This tiny Ohio village is only .52 square miles. But they’re celebrating their 1st Pride in a big way.

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Take a former amusement park. Convert it into a tiny village. Throw in a community pool and a healthy dose of rainbows. And what do you get?!

The first annual Minerva Park Pride!

This village 10 miles north of Columbus began as Minerva Amusement Park in 1895 before it was later founded as the neighborhood it is today.

Though they are a tiny community — measuring only .52 square miles and featuring a little over 2,000 residents — their small size isn’t stopping them from celebrating Pride in a big way.

Hosted at the Minerva Park community pool, Minerva Park Pride will take place on Saturday, June 25th, from 10 am to 12 pm. Local residents  are invited to head over for food trucks, entertainment, and the opportunity to get to know their neighbors.

To learn more about this inaugural event, The Buckeye Flame spoke with Carrie Jarka, the secretary for the Minerva Park Community Association, who is leading the charge on Pride..

First, could you tell us a little bit more about Minerva Park?
Minerva Park is a beautiful little pocket neighborhood in Columbus. We’re located in northeast Columbus by Westerville. The village was founded in 1940. It actually used to be an amusement park, so all of this land used to be an amusement park, and there was a trolley train that would go from Westerville to Minerva Park and then all the way down to the fairgrounds. The road that I live on used to be trolley train tracks. At some point, the amusement park was sold off and developed into homes. Now I think we have 820 homes. We’re our own little village within the city of Columbus. It’s a great community!

Tell is all about what Minerva Park’s Pride event.
This is the first year that we’re hosting something, so we’re starting small. We’re hosting the event at the community pool, and we’re working on lining up some small entertainment stuff. We’re going to have a couple of food vendors and food trucks, and then we’re going to have just local community groups that are supportive or work directly with various facets of the LGBTQ+ community.

What do you think is the importance of Pride to Minerva Park?
Minerva Park is a community that’s kind of in transition. It has been around as a village since 1940, and we’re seeing a transition of the homeowners. Three or four years ago, they started building new homes on what used to be a golf course. We have a lot of new people to the village, so there’s been a lot of changeover in home ownership.

As a result of that, we’ve got a more diverse, more eclectic community. We basically just wanted to celebrate that diversity by hosting a Pride event. There’s a pretty decent-sized LGBTQ+ community within Minerva Park, including folks who are supportive of the community. There’s a number of kids that live in the community, so it was important for us to have an event that showed that we were welcoming, open, and supportive not only of the current residents, but also the next generation.

What are your hopes for this event?
Honestly, I hope that we have a decent turnout. It’s open to not only Minerva Park residents, but anybody else in the local community. I hope that people have a chance to actually meet and get to know their neighbors. Especially with COVID, we haven’t had a chance to have a ton of events to get to know each other.

Part of the reason why we wanted to have Pride in the morning with food and things like that is just to give people a chance to hang out and really get to know each other and chat. We didn’t want to have anything too formal or organized so we could give people that opportunity to know who they’re living next to. The goal for the event is really to foster that community atmosphere and that “get-to-know-your-neighbor” aspect.

How are you feeling as you get ready for Minerva Park to celebrate their first Pride?
I guess a little bit of anxiety trying to pull everything together. It’s never easy to plan an event, but it’s certainly much more difficult when you’re trying to do one from scratch for something that’s never existed before. I’m looking forward to getting to know different people around the community.

It’s been really awesome to see the support and enthusiasm that people in Minerva Park have when it comes to the planning of the event. We’ve got a great group that’s kind of brainstorming ideas and reaching out to different groups and tapping into the connections that they have in the local community, so that makes me really excited. Hopefully everything goes off without a hitch and it’s a nice, successful day! 🔥

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About Author

Cassidy Naypauer is a future Speech-Language Pathologist who has always been passionate about writing, languages, and travel. She double-majored in speech pathology and Spanish at Miami University, and is currently pursuing her Master’s in speech pathology at Baldwin Wallace University.

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