If you’re anywhere within relatively close proximity to Columbia, South Carolina, mark your calendars for October 14-15 and make sure to be there for the city’s annual Pride parade festival.

Well the state as a whole tends to lean a bit too far into the red zone for most queer taste (not unlike its neighbors), prominent cities like Charleston, Greenville and Columbia trend toward progressive and boast active and respected LGBTQ communities.

Columbia, the state’s capital, holds the annual statewide pride event each year, which has progressively grown larger over the past decade, now attracting a crowd numbering somewhere around 80,000, according to reports.

The Pride Parade takes place Friday October 14, kicking off at 7:30 p.m. in the evening. That’s different from most of the surrounding LGBTQ communities in other cities, but has proved to be a success in Columbia. The parade kicks off at the corners of Main and Laurel Streets and ends at Lady Street. A dance party and celebration follows with performers from RuPaul’s Drag Race on the main stage including Phoenix, Denali, Tammie Brown, Kerri Colby and A’Keria Chanel Davenport.

The festival continues on Saturday, October 15 with headlining performers Natasha Bedingfield, Sheila E., Crystal Waters and CupcakKe. Bedingfield is best known for such songs as ‘Unwritten,” “Pocketful of Sunshine” and “These Words.” Sheila E., who worked closely with Prince during the height of his career, is best known for her hits “Glamorous Life and “Belle of St. Marks.” Crystal Waters has seen major dance chart success with “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” and “100% Pure Love.” CupcakKe experienced viral video acclaim with videos like “H2hoe” and “Marge Simpson.”

In addition to the Saturday vendor fair and festival, an after party follows the main stage concerts with more entertainment from RuPaul’s Drag Race performers. For more details, visit scpride.org.

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...