This year, visitors to the annual Pride Charlotte festival in Uptown Charlotte will notice two distinct changes. With larger crowds and more vendors, Pride organizers have responded by expanding the physical festival grounds and putting into place programs for recycling and environmental protection.

Since 2006, the Pride Charlotte festival has been held on the property of Gateway Village. The private property allowed organizers to forget about the interruptions and protests made by radical Christian activists. However, the festival has begun to outgrow its home. This year, festival-goers will find the party expanded to portions of Trade St.

Organizers hope to make the event cleaner and more environmentally friendly event because of a new commitment to waste reduction and recycling.

“We believe that preserving our environment is an issue of global importance that starts at the local level,” a recent press release read. “In the past our waste, including plastic bottles, was just sent to the landfill. Beginning this year we are encouraging recycling at our event by festival-goers and vendors. It is our goal that plastic bottles as well as aluminum cans, paper and cardboard will be successfully recycled because of this program.”

Recycling stations will be scattered throughout the festival area. Volunteers will also be on hand to help direct festival-goers to those stations in order to dispose of their bottles and cans. The Pride Charlotte festival is partnering with the City of Charlotte’s waste management and recycling divisions to offer this program.