Celebrating PRIDE in America has been a long-standing tradition for years. Each year the LGBTQ community and its allies rally together during the month of June to commemorate their freedom of sexuality in elaborate fashion. The party sweeps the nation from coast to coast, each city varying in its own spectacular way. So, if you’re looking to join in on the fun, here are some highlights of pride celebrations around the country.
Friday, June 14th – Sunday, June 16th
It all started in 1981 with around 200 marchers, some wearing bags over their heads to conceal their identities. Today, the city of Columbus continues to grow rapidly, and PRIDE has grown substantially with it. If you don’t want to make a trek to larger cities for their celebrations, Columbus hosts a great pride weekend. With two days of festivals and a large parade on Saturday, it will be a delightful time mixed with the comforts of the local scene. Most of the festivities will be centrally located at Bicentennial Park, adjacent to the Scioto River, which will be a beautiful sight under the hot June sun. It’s a great way to spice up a normal weekend in the summer.
New York City
Saturday, June 1st – Sunday, June 30th
New York hosts events throughout the entire month, ending with the massive parade at the end of June. There are events for everything. Food, sports, partying, New York does it all with over 50 during the course of the month. And as for the parade? I decided to go last year with some friends and I was blown away. The overwhelming crowd cheering on marchers was heartwarming and a sight I will never forget. The streets of New York were filled with people in support of pride. The famous landmarks served as a magnificent background to streets flooded with rainbows, signs and costumes for the parade. If you can make the trek, it is definitely worth it for a once in a lifetime experience.
Saturday, June 29th – Sunday, June 30th
On the other side of the country, San Francisco has become a well-known hub for the LGBTQ community. So, it’s no surprise that the city hosts one of the best PRIDE celebrations in the country. It also has some historical and political significance, as marchers travel down a path leading right to City Hall, where Harvey Milk once addressed attendees years ago. The celebration is considered one of the best in the world. With a healthy blend of gorgeous views, thrilling nightlife and an incredible atmosphere, San Francisco’s celebration will for sure become an unforgettable adventure. •
One Student’s Opinion
By Ethan Clewell
For Willow Mollenkopf, the differences between the New York and Columbus Pride parades are visible far beyond just the population size. The New York Pride Parade has an energy that matches its city’s identity–fast paced, diverse and intense.
Activism is no stranger to the Pride parades, since LGBTQ people have had to fight for their right to be treated equally in many different sectors. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, reknowned historic protests for LGBTQ rights.
“There were people carrying caskets that said ‘women’s health’ and ‘Obamacare’ on them,” Mollenkopf said. She believes her being there the summer after Trump’s election and the awkward timing of the his cabinet appointees played a part in the parade’s intensity.
Despite the liberating energy NYC brought, Mollenkopf prefers the Columbus parade because of the little things that make a parade easier to navigate.
“It’s more comfortable,” she said. “With Columbus I didn’t have any trouble find the route, or restrooms. If you see a large group of people walking, you can make the assumption they are going to the parade. In New York you couldn’t do that.”
The smaller size also gave Columbus an air of intimacy, adding more of a sense of community than the New York parade.
“I would be standing, watching the parade and I felt like I could talk to everyone around me,” Mollenkopf recalls. “While in New York, I didn’t feel that connectedness to everyone.”
No matter where you choose to celebrate pride this year, Mollenkopf holds that the biggest determining factor on whether or not you’ll enjoy yourself truly is the people you go with. So grab your closest friends, get your rainbow gear ready, and we’ll see you on the streets at Pride!
Header photo by Brandon Bloom.