Capital Pride is far from the only gay Pride event in the Mid-Atlantic with fabulous festivities and must-see entertainment. Those celebrating the LGBT community can extend the fun by taking road-trips to festivals in Baltimore, New York, Frederick, Md., and Annapolis, Md.
The Baltimore Pride Celebration has been Marylandâ€™s largest LGBT visibility event since 1975. Baltimoreâ€™s Pride Parade and Block Party are on June 15 from 3:30-9 p.m. in the heart of the cityâ€™s historic gay neighborhood, Mount Vernon. The Pride Festival on the following Sunday is held in lakeside Druid Hill Park from noon-5 p.m.
Baltimore Pride attracts roughly 30,000 people annually from all over the Mid-Atlantic. This year, there will likely be an even higher turnout with â€śWeDo Baltimore,â€ť a mass LGBT marriage ceremony during the festival on Sunday. Carrie Heirs, the event organizer, describes â€śWeDoâ€ť as symbolic of a turning point for Maryland.
â€śWeâ€™re doing the first ever LGBT mass wedding in Maryland. We just won the referendum, so itâ€™s the first time weâ€™ve been able to legally marry during Pride,â€ť Heirs says. â€śI think it symbolizes what we as a community have always known. Weâ€™ve known this in our hearts always: love is love.â€ť
Heirs says itâ€™s time for Maryland to celebrate after years of hard work, but that does not mean the national struggle for LGBT equality is over.
â€śWe are the first state below the Mason-Dixon line for this to happen. It wasnâ€™t just a one-time shot. Weâ€™ve always been given the opportunity to celebrate our own uniqueness during Pride, but why not take this chance to say what this actually means,â€ť Heirs says. â€śI think that weâ€™re celebrating because itâ€™s Pride month, but it should not just be in our state. It should be in all 50 states. It should be the law, the norm.â€ť
In addition to â€śWeDo Baltimore,â€ť this yearâ€™s Baltimore Pride is also introducing â€śSummer Reign,â€ť a dance party for ladies 25 and over, at Paparazzi Nightclub (407 East Saratoga St., Baltimore) from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. on June 15. Early bird tickets are $10 and tickets the day of are $20. For details and to purchase tickets, visit sumreign.eventbrite.com.
The headlining performer at the Saturday Block Party will be Ultra NatĂ©, a Baltimore native who has proven her talent in a wide span of genres, including R&B, hip-hop, soul, house, rock and electro-pop. J Pope and Funk Friday, a female soul band, headline the Sunday Pride Festival. Septimius the Great, who cites Madonna and Lady Gaga as musical influences, will also be performing at the festival, as well as the Baltimore-based reggae group Unity.
Other Baltimore Pride events include Twilight on the Terrace, a cocktail party benefiting Baltimore Pride on June 14 at Gertrudeâ€™s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Dr. Baltimore) from 7-11 p.m., and the High Heel Race at 3 p.m. on June 15 (corner of Charles and Read Streets in Baltimore). For more details on Baltimore Pride, visit baltimorepride.org.
New York City Pride, of course, is a hugely popular weeklong celebration of LGBT visibility just a bus or train ride away. The NYC Pride Rally kicks off the weekâ€™s festivities on June 28 from 7-10 p.m. at Hudson River Parkâ€™s Pier 26 in TriBeCa. The Rally features motivating speakers and popular performers who have yet to be announced.
The NYC Pride March has been an annual civil rights demonstration free and open to the public since 1970. The march starts on June 30 at 11 a.m. at 36 St. and 5 Ave.Â This yearâ€™s grand marshals are Edith Windsor, Harry Belafonte and Earl Fowlkes. Following the march is PrideFest, a massive LGBT public street fair with vendors and entertainers on Hudson St. between Abdingdon Sq. and West 14 St. PrideFest is from 11 a.m. -6 p.m.
NYC Pride has many other events during the week, finishing with the glamorous Dance on the Pier party on June 30 from 3-10 p.m. on Pier 26 in Hudson River Park. Tickets are $75 and $125 for VIP passes, and all proceeds go to NYC Pride Week events and community organizations. For more details on NYC Pride, visit nycpride.org.
Frederick Pride 2013 is Frederick, Md.â€™s second Pride festival after a successful turnout at last yearâ€™s event. The gathering takes place in Utica Park (10-200 B Old Frederick, Rd., Frederick, MD) at noon on June 29. Tons of fun outdoor activities will be featured, including Capture the Flag, Football, Dodgeball and a pie-eating contest. For more information, visit the â€śFrederick Pride 2013â€ť event on Facebook.
For late summer gay Pride, the Chesapeake Pride Festival will be held Aug. 3 from noon-6 p.m. at Mayo Beach Park (4150 Honeysuckle Dr., Edgewater, MD) in the Annapolis area. The afternoon will include a drag performance by Stormy Vain, as well as food, music and other activities. On June 22, guests can board the Richard Lee wooden tour boat for the Chesapeake Pride River Cruise from 6-8 p.m. to benefit Chesapeake Pride. Tickets are $40 and the boat will depart from the Discovery Village Marina (4800 Atwell Rd., Shady Side, MD). For more details and to purchase tickets, visit chesapeakepridefestival.org.
Other nearby pride events include OBX Pridefest in Outer Banks, N.C., the weekend of Sept. 13, Philly Pride this weekend and Pittsburgh Pride next weekend. Roanoke Pride is in September.