by Liz Schob (she/her), Communications Manager
After an incredible 2022 Pride season, Charlotte’s largest street festival and parade returns to Uptown Charlotte. From 2,000 attendees in 2001 to a record-breaking 275,000 at last year’s event, the Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade returns again to the streets of Uptown Charlotte as we celebrate 20+ years of Charlotte Pride and more than 40 years of Pride legacy in the Queen City.
The countdown has officially begun for the 2023 Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade on August 19 and 20. After a record-breaking 2022, we’ve ramped up this year’s event with some very exciting things in store. We have hundreds of participating vendor booths, including art exhibits, local nonprofits, retailers, a food court, and more!
We’re excited to host national artists like Big Freedia, Greyson Chance, Trina, Aja, and Luxx Noir London as well as amazing local artists like Vanity House, Big the Cat, and Q Michael across our festival stages. The main stage has a packed lineup and our community stage, sponsored by CATS, will feature a drag revue featuring performers from across the region along with our signature drag pageant on Saturday. We even have a new stage this year sponsored by the Charlotte Gaymers Network that will host an exciting lineup of DJs and drag entertainment.
Flourish is back for another year to celebrate of LGBTQ+ arts & culture in the Queen City during the festival on Saturday, August 19 in the Wells Fargo Atrium from 1-6 pm. Join us for free admission mini arts festival within the Charlotte Pride Festival Zone featuring LGBTQ+spoken word artists, short films, performing and fine arts groups, and more. This air-conditioned space is perfect for those needing a break from the heat!
Keep your dollars local during the festival by shopping at the Neighborhood Market, presented by the Arts & Science Council. Located on Levine Avenue of the Arts near the Charlotte Gaymers Network stage, this activation will feature fifteen local artists, artisans, craftspeople, and makers. The Neighborhood Market is your place to support local artisans and adorn your home with unique, locally, and handcrafted wares.
The Charlotte Pride VIP Experience, presented by McDonald’s, has also been ramped up this year. Pass holders can enjoy access to the air-conditioned VIP lounge on the Wells Fargo Plaza as well as VIP parade stands, VIP main stage viewing area, a gift bag filled with goodies with our festival & parade sponsors, exclusive entertainment, and meet-and greets from some of our main stage entertainers. In addition to delicious treats from McDonald’s, VIP Pass holders can also enjoy complimentary catering from Something Classic, including: fresh fruit salad, egg & chorizo empanadas, chicken & sweet potato waffles, a selection of muffins, an avocado toast bar, and more.
We will have an expanded Youth & Family Zone, presented by Equitable and supported by the Gender Education Network, this year on The Green, a 1.5 acre private park in the middle of Uptown. The Youth & Family zone is designed only for young people under the age of 21 and their family/parents/legal guardians and is a great place for families who want to take a break from the larger festival zone in a more relaxed environment. Join us on The Green for family-friendly entertainment and resources, including arts and crafts, community resources, a family care tent, and special speakers and entertainers, including Drag Queen Story Hour.
Join us in Uptown on Sunday, August 20 from 1-4 pm for the Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade as we celebrate 20+ years of Charlotte Pride and 40+ years of Pride Movement legacy in the Queen City! More than 200 contingents, 40+ floats, and 10,000 marchers will make their way down a rainbow-filled Tryon Street. Get a spot on the parade route early and come to Tryon & 4th Streets to get an early pre-parade show with your returning parade emcees Delighted Tobehere and Malachi! We know that this year’s festival will be one for the books and we can’t wait to celebrate with you!
For full details on our entertainment lineup, festival zone, parade, health and safety, and more, visit charlottepride.org.