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Ginger Pride gears up for 4th annual march down Broad Street

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The inaugural Ginger Pride Walk in 2011 drew 15 people.

Last year’s march saw 200 people walking down Broad Street, chanting slogans and bringing attention to bullying.

“You don’t have to have red hair to come,” said James Schroeder, the march’s organizer. “Anyone who wants to come is welcome.”

The event, now titled the Ginger Pride Parade, is scheduled for noon on March 15. Marchers will gather at Heritage Park on Second Avenue before walking to Bridgepoint Plaza, where they’ll begin their hike on Broad Street to City Hall.

This will be the first year marchers walk on the street. In past years they walked on the sidewalk from the Cotton Block to City Hall.

The rising number of participants led Schroeder to get the street permit.

“It’s something I believe in,” Schroeder said. “I’m going to push it as far as I can.”

Schroeder got the idea for a march when a student said something offensive to him. An attempt to resolve the situation administratively failed, and Schroeder decided to organize a march.

“I can deal with it,” Schroeder said of the offensive comment. “I’m an adult. It’s fun to make a parade, but a lot of kids can’t deal with it.”

Schroeder is building interest in the march on the “Ginger Pride Walk” Facebook page. People can vote for Mr. and Miss Ginger Pride by “liking” a photo. Winners will get a trophy at the parade.

There are three categories for Mr. and Miss Ginger Pride: Infants to 8 years old; 9 to 17 years old; and 18 and older.

Money for the trophies and the T-shirts sold at the event comes out of Schroeder’s pocket. He’d like to use — a website used to raise money for various projects — to get funds for next year’s march.

Schroeder intends to film the march and interview participants, which he’ll use for the kickstarter project.

If his plan succeeds, next year’s parade will feature floats.

A group photo of participants will be taken at City Hall at the parade’s end. Attendees will receive free sunscreen, but are advised to bring their own umbrellas.