COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Colorful crowds packed Columbus businesses Saturday to celebrate Pride Weekend, and business owners said the weekend fall in the top five busiest periods of the year.

Business owners said having Pride back in person and in full swing after two years feels like a rebirth, and a profitable weekend is exactly what they need.

“It is our busiest weekend, no doubt,” said Aron Aranda, bar manager of Southbend Tavern.

Aranda said on Pride weekends, sales typically increase by about 50 percent.

“Last night was a huge night for us and then today has already started,” he said. “It’s incredible. Not even 5 p.m. and we have a great crowd. We are really happy.”

Aranda said this year’s Pride celebration already feels bigger than in 2019, both economically and spiritually.

“Kind of a rebirth of Pride here in Columbus and it seems like downtown was busier than ever, so we are extremely happy about that,” he said.

Aranda added that the people who come by on Pride normally continue to come back and spend money throughout the summer.

The Southbend is one of dozens of LGBTQ+-owned businesses in Columbus, and just around the corner is another, Cavan’s Irish Pub.

Cavan’s bartender Megan Dunn said Pride Weekend is no ordinary weekend.

“It is our bread and butter,” she said.

Dunn said Friday night’s sales doubled a normal Friday night, bringing in people from all colors of the rainbow.

 “I am going to say it is probably going to be busier this year because more people are ready to just come back out, no pun intended,” she said.

The businesses said this spike in sales doesn’t just help the business, but also the workers by going right back into the community.

“Oh, it’s all about the community this weekend,” Dunn said. “Two years of not being able to do this and we are back.”

For a list of LGBTQ+-friendly businesses in the community, click here.