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Charlotte Pride week is in full force. Local businesses and organizations are gearing up for a busy weekend showing their support for the local LGBTQ+ community.

The Pride Parade is one of the most anticipated events of Charlotte’s annual LGBTQ+ Pride Festivals. One of the most colorful and recognizable aspects of the parade are the various floats designed and sponsored by local businesses, organizations and more. But what does it take to plan, design and construct one of these parade staples?

Building Floats and a proud presence in Charlotte’s Pride Parade

By Taylor Heeden

Companies involved in the parade have to select a theme for the float relevant to both the business and LGBTQ+ Pride. This year, Duke Energy’s theme for the festival is “Building a Smarter Energy Future Together,” and will include:

  • A solar panel phone charging station and cool down zone with misting fans.
  • Duke Energy branded merchandise, such as water bottles, yo-yos, first aid kits, sustainable cotton tote bags, koozies, pens and children’s coloring books
  • A Duke Energy bucket truck

The Charlotte Gaymers Network is the largest LGBTQ+ nonprofit gaming organization in the country. Jonny Saldana is the executive director and co-founder of Charlotte Gaymers Network, and his organization has a float in the Charlotte Pride Parade. This year’s float will consist of over 100 volunteers and a DJ, supplying music and bringing the sense of a party to Pride.

“We just make it into a huge party,” Saldana explains. “This year, our presenting sponsors are Broken Promises and Lost and Found, two nightclubs owned by the same group here in Charlotte. So both of their staff from both of those bars will actually be with us on the float and walking with us this year, which shows the diversity of not only our organization, but also the types of businesses and people that we work with.”

To completely plan, design and create the Gaymers Network’s float, the organization starts working a few months prior to Pride. From there, Saldana said volunteers work to build and decorate the large vessel.

“When we first started doing Charlotte Pride last year … I think it cost a few hundred dollars to sign up,” Saldana recalls. “Then we have to hire the company to build our float … then we start our volunteer drive and try to get as many people to come; we give people free volunteer T shirts for walking with us and participating with us.”


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Charlotte Pride’s back for 2023 

Uptown comes alive with fun and entertainment

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Divine Barrel Game Night


6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Divine Barrel Brewing

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Pride Trivia Night


6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Weathered Souls Charlotte

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Carlos Can Read


7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Divine Barrel Brewing

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See our full calendar online at qnotescarolinas.com

See what’s happening during Pride Week!

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