It’s Pride 2.0 – The Second Season!
Pride month is generally celebrated in June to honor the legacy of the Stonewall Inn riots. Though there are many cities in warmer climates that skip the sweltering heat of summer, and host their Pride festivals in October to celebrate National Coming Out Day.
These are not sloppy seconds celebrations. Cities like Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Honolulu bring out the masses for their Pride festivals and parades, and there are some small-town events that are worth checking out as well. Here are some of our favorite October Pride celebrations around the US:
Las Vegas Pride
Las Vegas Pride takes place in the city center, north of The Strip, near the Fremont Street Experience. The parade, held at night, starts at 7 pm on Friday, Oct 7, and travels along 4th Street, ending at the Main Stage at the intersection of 4th Street & Bridger Ave.
Then on Saturday, Oct 8, head to Craig Ranch Regional Park in North Las Vegas for the Pride Festival, starting at noon and going all day. Tickets are $30 at the gate (buying tickets in advance really isn’t cheaper when the “additional fees” are added). Also of note is a Pride Pool Party on Sunday, Oct 9 at The Sahara Las Vegas, from 11 am to 5 pm.
Atlanta’s Pride festival is a huge event, one of the biggest Pride festivals of the entire year. The Pride Kick-Off Party on Oct 7, at the Georgia Aquarium, is a see-and-be-seen event attended by the city’s gayest celebrities and glitterati. Then there are several parades: on Saturday, Oct 8, the Trans March, the Bi and Pan March, and the Dyke March are staggered throughout the day, and on Sunday, Oct 9 is the main Atlanta Pride Parade. The Pride Festival spans both Saturday and Sunday in Piedmont Park and tens of thousands of people attend. Mainstage entertainers for 2022 include Big Freedia, rapper Flo Rida, and Australian singer Betty Who.
Come Out With Pride Orlando
Orlando hosts some of the largest gay events in the world, with Gay Days and Red Shirt Days at Disney World attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city in June. But Orlando actually celebrates Pride week in October. This year, the 2022 Pride festival and parade takes place on October 15 at Lake Eola Park. The festival runs from noon until 9:30 pm, and the parade travels around the park, beginning at 4 pm.
Then Sunday, Oct 16 is also a busy day: there is the after party at Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay, the Happiness Tea Dance at The Veranda at Thornton Park, and the naughty Uncut Cabaret by the Orlando Gay Chorus at the Renaissance Theater. Orlando loves to party.
It is still hot in Phoenix in October, which means PhxPride will have thousands of people showing a lot of skin to keep cool in that desert sun. The festival spans the weekend of Oct 15-16 at Steele Indian Park, with the parade kicking off on Sunday, October 16 at 10 am. Expect the bars at the nearby Melrose District to be packed all weekend. Check out their websites to buy fast-pass tickets and avoid waiting in long lines to get in.
Aloha Maui Pride
Aloha Maui Pride is a small, family-friendly event at the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, featuring local drag queens, plus live music and hula, on Sat. Oct 8 from 10:30 am to 4 pm. An after-party follows that night at Da Playground, starting at 8 pm. Among the other events that weekend, there is also a group Pride hike along the Waihe’e Coastal Dunes Trail. A morning hike along the beaches of Maui, followed by hula dancing at the botanical gardens, would be a lovely day.
First-time visitors to Honolulu are often surprised by how big and busy the city is. Despite its remote location, Oahu is home to a large, lively gay and trans community. On Oct 15, the Honolulu Pride parade starts at 10 am at the Magic Island peninsula and ends at Kapiolani Park. The festival follows, until 6 pm, at the Waikiki Shell at Diamond Head.
P.S. The week before, on October 6-9, the National Gay Flag Football League is converging on Honolulu for Gay Bowl XXII, so hopefully some of those athletes will stay on the island until the Pride festival.
Springfield, MO is deep in the Bible Belt, but this cute little city hosts two Pride festivals: Springfield Pride in May, and Ozark Pride in October. Ozark Pride is Oct 8, starting with a parade that travels along a long route through the city and ends at the city center, and a festival until 10 pm. Visitors to Springfield can also make the short drive to Branson, the “Live Music Capitol of the World,” where there aren’t any outwardly gay bars but all of those dancing boys keep Grindr very busy.
We here at GayCities love small-town Pride festivals. Go for an afternoon of eating snacks, collecting swag from the info booths hosted by banks and government agencies, and watching drag shows featuring the local queens who work tirelessly to keep the community entertained. If you can’t have fun at the Spencer Pride Pet Parade, do you even have the ability to experience joy in your life? The festival is Saturday, Oct 15, outside the Tivoli Theater, from 12 noon to 7 pm.
The Woodlands Pride
Houston’s main Pride celebration is in June, but Houston is the 4th largest city in the US, so they deserve more than one pride festival. The Woodlands Pride Festival, at Town Creek Park in the northern suburbs of the Houston metro area, is on Oct 22 from 11 am to 5 pm. This is only the 4th year for The Woodlands Pride, so they don’t have a parade yet, but expect a pleasant day of family-friendly festivities (and lots of free water bottles, magnets, and other swag) at the festival.
Savannah is a fun town, and the Savannah Pride festival is a boisterous affair each year. For 2022, the festivities begin with a Masqueerade Ball, a costumed ball competition hosted by the gorgeous Jason Rodriguez from Pose, on Thursday, Oct 27, from 7-11 pm.
The Masqueerade Ball takes place at Starland Yard, a complex of restaurants and food trucks, so will Starland Yard still be open to the public to mix and mingle with the costumed partiers? That should be interesting. Then the festival, at Ellis Square, begins Friday, Oct 27 at 3 pm until 11 pm that night, and then again Saturday, Oct 28 from 11 am to 11 pm. At 8 pm on both Friday and Saturday, the main stage becomes adult-oriented “After Dark” entertainment that is sure to infuriate the conservative politicians of Georgia.
The Pride parade marches through the city on Saturday, Oct 28, starting at 7 pm. And then after that, everyone will end up at Club One because that’s just what happens in Savannah.
…and don’t forget, in November is Palm Springs Pride! Friday, Nov 4 to Sunday, Nov 6!