Tom Nobbe, executive director of Gay Games 2014, said on Thursday that Cleveland was selected as the host city “to make history.”

The sports and cultural festival is slated to take place next August in venues throughout Cleveland and Akron.

“I think people are looking at the LGBT community in a different light and we are thrilled that these games will be in the heartland because if we are successful that will send a message,” Nobbe told the Akron Roundtable at Quaker Station. “It's one thing to hold the games in San Francisco or Sydney, it's another thing to hold this in Northeast Ohio.”

“The time was right to hold these games in the heartland of America. Where better than here to bring together the global community of friendship to experience participation, elevate consciousness and self-esteem and achieve a form of cultural and intellectual collaboration. Not to really be over dramatic about this, but to make history.”

“I think people are going to be kind of surprised with stereotypes that will be broken with what some folks perceive, you know, in terms of the LGBT community that they only see on television for pride events … where people really come out and show the colors,” he added.

Next year's events are expected to draw 11,000 athletes and 30,000 spectators to Northeast Ohio.