A $1.5 million basic fundraising goal been met, and thousands of volunteers are in place

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CLEVELAND -- The Gay Games are five months away. They are meant to be a showcase of tolerance and are on target to be a hugely successful event.

A $1.5 million basic fundraising goal been met. Thousands of volunteers are in place. Venues in Cleveland and Akron are identified and ready.

The games' staff will be moving into a new donated space headquarters very soon.

But the games may not be as big as expected.

Original projections were for more than 10,000 athletes participating.

That's been revised down to an estimate of 8,000 to 9,000.

Gay Games Executive Director Tom Nobbe said that's because Cleveland's brand is not well known in LGBT circles. He thinks Positively Cleveland's new marketing campaign and slogan to be announced later this month might help.

He says it's unclear if the loss of Cleveland's United airline hub will have any impact on those coming to this global event. So far, 3,000-plus athletes have registered. They are from 45 states and 26 countries.

There are a large number of entrants from Russia, but it's not clear how many will be able to attend.

The goal is to have the Gay Games at least break even. Fewer athletes will mean fewer visitors and a smaller economic impact for Northeast Ohio.

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