Because of you, this year’s Charlotte Pride rocked! Charlotte’s LGBT community, along with straight allies and folks from across the region — and even the nation — turned out in droves for a two-day festival Aug. 24-25 that was bigger and better than ever. And, for the first time in 19 years, we successfully hosted a Pride parade! Since 2008, I’ve served on the Charlotte Pride committee, watching as the event got bigger and bigger each year. This year, the committee and all of its volunteers, sponsors and donors really made an impact, and for that I am grateful.

Pulling off a large-scale Pride event like ours is no easy feat. It takes months and months of planning. It takes the hard work and dedication of dozens and dozens of committed volunteers. It takes corporations, both large and small, and non-profit community partners coming together to offer the financial and other resources that make it all happen. But, in the end of the day, it is because of the community itself that Charlotte Pride is a success. You turned out. You showed up. You lived and breathed the spirit of Pride and left a lasting mark on this city. Thank you for being out, loud and proud!

Thanks also goes out to all the people whose community and organizational leadership made Charlotte Pride possible — all the folks who back in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s who began the initial work of building and empowering our community; all the people who banded together in the 1980s to form community organizations that brought us all together; the people, including organizers Darryl Logsdon and Kimberly Melton, who helped to present the NC Pride Festival and Parade in Charlotte in 1994; Jeff Schmehl and his fellow organizers who first founded Charlotte Pride in 2000; the LGBT Community Center, qnotes publisher Jim Yarbrough and past co-chairs Darryl Hall and Raine Cole, along with others, who shepherded Pride Charlotte from 2006 through 2011. Lastly are the leaders who have dedicated so much of their time and energy in recent years, including past co-chairs Dave Webb and Jonathan Hill, along with this year’s co-directors Richard Grimstad and Craig Hopkins.

Others, too, are deserving of mention. Charlotte Pride emcees Big Mama D and Roxxy C. Moorecox have come back year after year to keep the crowd entertained between great musical acts. Their wit and their on-their-feet thinking, along with the hard work of stage manager our stage manager Maddie Bock, kept the stage running smoothly.

Our volunteers are the best! Without pay and without glory, they take on the back-breaking work that keeps the festival operating like a well-oiled machine. Our volunteer team — comprised of Charlotteans of every stripe, including mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends — come together to do the not-so-fabulous, but oh-so-necessary work of setting up the stage and festival signage, transporting tent weights and water buckets and ice and beverages, manning beer tents and staffing information tents.

Thanks to Charlotte Mayor Patsy Kinsey, who participated in the parade, sat with our parade judges when she was done leading it and spoke to our community from the stage. Thanks also for the mayor’s welcome letter in our Pride Guide and for her first-ever official proclamation marking the weekend as “Charlotte Pride Weekend.” Thanks also to Charlotte City Councilmembers LaWana Mayfield and Billy Maddalon, along with our parade grand marshals Wesley Mancini and Bishop Tonyia Rawls. Finally, thanks to our Champions of Pride Awards coordinator Shane Windmeyer and our inaugural award recipients Janice Covington, Beverly and Bill McIntyre and Juan Carlos Ramos.

Thanks, also, to my fellow media colleagues for being so diligent in your coverage. Nearly every media outlet in the city, both small and large, covered the festival and parade.

Last, but certainly not least, are the great group of people I am utterly proud to call my friends and my colleagues — the members of the Charlotte Pride Executive Committee. These people have dedicated so many of their days and sleepless nights to making this organization and its events successful. Thank you Richard Grimstad, Craig Hopkins, Dave Webb, Jamie Hildreth, Jeff Sampson, Patrick Paige, Jonathan Hill, Douglas Lowe, Gary Carpenter, Paul Kelly and Ryan Kingston, along with our board of advisors, Rosalyn Allison-Jacobs and Chris McLeod. Thanks also to our core group of volunteers who joined the festival and parade staff and worked with us from early in the morning hours of Aug. 24 through late in the evening Aug. 25: Marc Alexander, Riley Murray, Billy Reasor, Jenny Richeson, Robert Ervine, Natisha Griffin, Greg Davis, Robert Penry, Joshua Bostwick and Kristee Bostwick.

There are many, many others I could thank. The list is long. Each of these people have, in their own ways, contributed greatly to the success of the growth of Charlotte Pride. But, they have also contributed to a much larger picture. The growth of Charlotte Pride is a reflection of our own larger community — the growth of the LGBT movement in Charlotte and the growth in Charlotte’s increasing level of inclusion and equality for all her citizens and residents.

Thank you, thank you, thank you — to each and every one of you who make living in Charlotte something of which we can all be very, very proud! : :

For more coverage on Charlotte Pride and photos of the event, visit

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Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.