After two years of virtual and limited in-person events, what is believed to be the city’s largest annual parade and one of its largest festivals is expected to bring more than 200,000 visitors to Charlotte. It is one of the largest LGBTQ Pride events in the southeast and, reportedly, second only to Atlanta’s Pride events.

Take a look around you. People are excited and happy to be with other people again. Even the city’s Mayor Vi Lyles is enthusiastic about the events.

“Charlotte’s annual Pride Week is the principal celebratory event for our LGBTQ+ community and its allies,” Lyles told Pride organizers. “Each year, the Pride Parade is one of the city’s most attended festivities and it serves as a special moment of acceptance and camaraderie for everyone involved.

For more detailed information on the Charlotte Pride schedule, click here.

“For two years, I have missed the beautiful, smiling faces, the rainbow-decorated parade floats, and all the joy this event brings to the Queen City,” she continued. “I’m excited for the return of the festival and parade and can’t wait to celebrate with you.”

Keep your eyes peeled, because she’s probably somewhere close by.

Over the past six years, the world has changed a lot. A former TV show host turned wannabe politician captured the oval office and empowered anti-LGBTQ forces to act out in ways not seen since the late 20th century.

Combined with a pandemic that kept us practically locked up for two years, it should come as no surprise that many in the LGBTQ+ community have been mentally and emotionally impacted in ways not unlike PTSD.

These days we can see there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re ready to come out and celebrate. COVID isn’t completely gone and now we have monkeypox looming on the horizon, as well. In other words, celebrate sensibly. 

We’re a smart community and we know how to help ourselves and others. Regardless of what gets thrown our way, we’re prepared to take a stand.

Charlotte’s Pride Festival and Parade are representative of the kind of stand this city’s LGBTQ community is ready to take. Here’s a look at some of the exciting activities and presentations waiting for you.

The Queen City’s two-day celebration includes a vendor’s fair with booths that include art exhibits, information on services and volunteer opportunities from local nonprofits, retailers selling goods of interest, a food court and more. What’s more, there are numerous entertainers, musicians and bands, including local performers and nationally-known and celebrated recording artists performing live throughout most of the celebration. All this fun takes place in the PNC Bank Festival zone on Saturday August 20, from noon to 10 pm and continues again on Sunday August 21 from noon to 6:00 p.m.

Specifically reserved for Sunday August 21 beginning at 1:00 p.m. and continuing to 4:00 p.m. is the Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade returning to uptown Charlotte after an absence of two years, this year there will be more than 170 participating entities and more than 40 floats. The parade kicks off at 9th Street and Tryon and crosses over six city blocks, before making the turn at Third and Tryon and ending at College Street.

Headlining the presentation on the Charlotte Pride main stage presented by Truist is Grammy winning artist Daya. She’ll perform Saturday evening at 8:45 p.m.

The singer and songwriter is just 22 and has already earned a Grammy for her nine-times-platinum Chainsmokers collaboration “Don’t Let Me Down,” as well as gold certification for her debut album “Sit Still, Look Pretty.” 

Thrust into the musical arena at age 16 with her double-platinum debut single “Hide Away,” the Pennsylvania-bred multi-instrumentalist has opened for the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen and MARINA, and is currently headlining her own national tour. 

After a well-earned respite from a fast journey into a big bang career, Daya has recently returned with a new body of work entitled “The Difference.” She also had the chance to explore her own personal identity and posted on Instagram in celebration of National Coming Out Day 2018 the following message: 

“One day late, but happy 1st national coming out day to me! What a crazy thing! All I gotta say is follow your gut and don’t feel like you owe any sort of explanation to anyone. Your sexuality is yours only, so build with it at a pace that works for you. I’m proud to be a bisexual member of the LGBTQ community.” 

The then 19-year-old told readers that she was in a same-sex relationship with another woman and that the two were very much in love. 

“The support has been beyond and though it wasn’t always easy I also recognise how privileged I am to have had so much of it, so I especially wanna be there for those of u who aren’t surrounded by the most accepting family/friends/communities. Stay authentic, talk thru it with people u trust, know you’re loved and that I’m thinking of u. That’s my long post of the month love yall be gay be free be wild n love lots xo.”

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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...