Beyond Pride: 5 sexy events that should be in your travel calendar

Photo by Gooch
photo by Gooch, courtesy Folsom Street Fair

The Pride season is on the way, with the Miami Beach Pride this weekend as one of the first big events to get the parties started. But there are lots of travel-worthy events that celebrate all that is great about being gay, or trans, or however it is people want to be identified, without being officially called "Pride."  

Here are some of the great events that deserve to be added to the Pride lineup in 2019...

Palm Beach International Gay Polo Tournament

The International Gay Polo Tournament started a decade ago as a way to promote the game of polo, but it has become a giant party and one of the most fun events in South Florida. Thousands of spectators gather in groups around the polo field and set up tents, complete with themes, costumes, and signature cocktails. What results is a steady session of day-drinking, as the crowd cheers the players as the galloping ponies go thundering back and forth. By the end, even the players jump off their horses and sip champagne, and everyone pretends not to check them out in their tight pants.

Life Ball

Words fail to properly describe the glamour of Life Ball, Vienna’s annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser. Organizers charter planes–full-size Boeings from Austrian Air Lines, darling–to shuttle in celebrities and nightlife impresarios from around the world, just to walk the red carpet and look fabulous. The celebrity sightings are serious—Charlize Theron took a twirl across the dance floor in 2018—and an appearance at Life Ball has become a sterling stamp for drag celebs, with past Drag Race alumni Willam, Pearl, and Violet Chachki among those ranks. Life Ball is recognized as an associated event for EuroPride, as Vienna is the host city for 2019, and the main festival is the following weekend. The theme for 2019's Life Ball is, "Walking on the yellow brick road towards an end to AIDS," so expect the Wizard of Oz drag will be sick. Go to this event and you'll never want to click your heels and go home.

Saturday Jun 8
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Northalsted Market Days

Northalsted Market Days is billed as the largest street festival of any kind in the Midwest, with approximately 300,000 attendees over the various events that culminate in a massive outdoor party in the Boystown area of the Lakeview neighborhood. Performance stages, vendors, food and drink, and of course lots of dancing keep the party going. The event was organized to promote the Northalsted Business Alliance, but now it is so big, everybody just hangs out and dances in the streets.

Aug 10-11, 2019 4 going
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Provincetown Carnival Week

Every day in the summer is Pride Day in Provincetown, where drag queens ride bicycles through the streets and shorty-shorts are considered formal wear. Carnival is one of the last big bashes of the New England summer season, and the parties and art fairs fill an entire week before the big parade on Aug. 22, 2019. This year’s Carnival theme is “Enchanted Forest," so prepare to see lots of shirtless boys with fairy wings and unicorn horns and not much else.

Aug 15-25, 2019 2 going
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Folsom Street Fair

The Folsom Street Fair (photo, top) is one of San Francisco's most famous, perhaps infamous, events of the year, where attendees come from around the world to celebrate leather, fetish, and the wonderful world of kink. The festival takes over Folsom St., and the main stage shifts from musical acts to live BDSM demonstrations, as attendees engage in shenanigans as they wander through the crowds, and yes there are definitely shenanigans, out there in the light of day. Men, women, trans, nonbinary, everyone is welcome; but proper attire is a good idea, so this would be a great reason to invest in some quality gear. If not, it is also fine to just be naked, and clothes checks are located throughout the festival area. Let loose and let your deviant flag fly, because the Folsom Street Fair is not the place to be shy.

Sunday Sep 29 11am-6pm 13 going
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By Daniel Renzi