by Clark Simon (he/him) Charlotte Pride President
April’s showers bring May’s flowers — and, gee, aren’t they so colorful? With the return of Spring comes a whole new season of Pride celebrations across the Carolinas. And, finally, after two years of virtual, socially-distanced, and small-scale events, Pride groups across our region, including us here at Charlotte Pride, are excitedly gearing up for the return of full-scale, in-person festivals, marches, parades, and other special events!
Pride Month has traditionally been in June, ever since community members decided to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. But that hasn’t stopped Pride groups from spreading the rainbow joy throughout the year. In cities and towns across the world, Pride events are celebrated in unique ways and in sometimes unexpected months. In the Carolinas, our Pride season generally runs from May through October. In places like Florida — especially South Florida with its more mild and winter climates and scorching summers — you’re more likely to find cities celebrating their Pride events from January through May, with some in the fall.
Charlotte celebrates our festival and parade in August — the result of a rather boring confluence of happenstance and scheduling. A few years ago, WFAE’s FAQ City podcast did an episode asking just this question: Why August? If you’re curious, check it out here: https://www.wfae.org/local-news/2018-08-14/faq-city-why-is-charlotte-pride-in-august-not-june
We think it’s pretty cool how our local Pride scheduling has shaped up over the years. In June, the community can come together in a variety of unique ways to celebrate National Pride Month. Local nonprofits create their own events and host their own special fundraisers. LGBTQ-owned and friendly businesses have an opportunity to celebrate and give back in their own unique way, too. Come June 30, Pride doesn’t end here. It’s just the beginning! In July, the celebration continues as our friends at Charlotte Black Pride host their events. Charlotte Black Pride Week is traditionally in mid-July, this year running July 17-24. Learn more and get involved with Charlotte Black Pride by visiting them at charlotteblackpride.org.
As Charlotte Black Pride winds down each July, the community continues its Pride celebrations for a third month! This year’s Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade is scheduled for Aug. 20-21 in Uptown! The big weekend itself is preceded by Charlotte Pride Week, Aug. 12-19, packed full of fun events and activities planned by our local partners, other nonprofits, bars, and other businesses. The Sunday before the festival and parade, we host our annual Charlotte Pride Interfaith Service, scheduled this year for Sunday, Aug. 14 and hosted by St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church.
We have big plans for this year’s festival and parade when we can finally join the hundreds of thousands of smiling revelers on the streets of Uptown again!
You can learn more now about involvement opportunities on our website at charlottepride.org/pride22. There you can submit applications for vendor/exhibitor spaces and parade entries, as well as make nominations for our annual Champions of Pride Awards and Parade Grand Marshals, apply to compete in the annual Charlotte Pride Pageant, submit community events to be featured in Charlotte Pride Week, and submit your interest in performing on one of our stages or other entertainment activations!
And, when August finally passes, don’t let your Pride fade away! Celebrate with events in places like Columbia or Durham, traditionally hosted in the fall! Beyond attending Pride events, put your Pride to work by being active in your community. We don’t think Pride is a single, once-annual weekend event. Pride is service, solidarity, and support. There are all sorts of ways you can give back throughout the year, whether that be by directly donating your time, talents or money to Pride groups or other local LGBTQ nonprofits, by voting, actively volunteering for community service projects, and so much more! Celebrate your Pride 365 days of the year!