Orange was the dominant color at last year’s Twin Cities Pride celebrations — the color associated with the campaign to defeat the proposed state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
For this year’s festival planned for June 28–30, Pride organizers are expecting an even bigger turnout given the recent passage of the marriage equality law, which allows LGBT couples to marry beginning Aug. 1.
Typically, Pride attracts between 250,000 to 300,000 for the festival in Loring Park and parade on Hennepin, said Dot Belstler, executive director for Twin Cities Pride.
“I think it’s going to be a great celebration this year. I think lots of folks are going to come out who haven’t been to Pride before,” she said.
The festival will include a new Wedding Showcase area featuring wedding suppliers with information on venues, florists, photographers and music. In the past, the festival has hosted civil commitment ceremonies.
“I think it will be a fun space for people knowing they can be legally married in a month,” Belstler said.
Julie Lyford of Fabulous Functions, an event and wedding planning company, is one of the organizers involved in the Wedding Showcase.
She said it will be a lively, interactive event with programming for children, too. There will be a fashion show featuring area floral designers called “It’s a Blooming Miracle: A Floral Fantasy” on Saturday, June 29 at 12:30 p.m.
Hennepin County started processing same-sex marriage license applications June 6.
There’s a long waiting list for the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade planned for Sunday, June 30 on Hennepin Avenue. It filled up in record time, Belstler said. There’s space for about 130 groups to participate.
Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who has been an outspoken supporter of the LGBT community, will serve as the Grand Marshal for the 41st annual Twin Cities Pride celebration.
“It has been incredibly inspiring to see Chris take such a solid and outspoken stance for gay marriage and GLBT support,” Belstler said in a statement after Kluwe was announced as the Grand Marshal earlier this year. “His voice has provided hope, encouragement and excitement to a huge population of supporters in our community, and it is my honor to have him as a part of our celebration.”
Kluwe will also read from his new book, “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football and Assorted Absurdities,” at The Loft Literary Center on June 30, 6 p.m. — following the closing of the Pride festival.
Bao Phi, associate program director at The Loft, said they were “overjoyed” when Kluwe reached out and asked about holding a reading at the venue.
“When someone like Chris Kluwe, who is known best for his skills on the football field and his devotion for free speech, puts words on a page it inspires a whole new audience to read and write,” Phi said.
Kluwe will also be signing copies of his new book during the festival in Loring Park.
Besides the new Wedding Showcase, the festival will have a new area for older Pride goers called Boomer Town, hosted by AARP, Prime Timers, an organization for older gay and bisexual men, and Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.
Belstler said the goal is to reach out to older members of the GLBT community, make them feel welcome and connect them to resources and information about the new federal health care law, among other things.
“Pride is often a young person’s thing. When people come out it’s one of the first public things that they do,” she said.
Twin Cities Pride has grown to include many other community events besides the parade and festival. Here’s a rundown of festivities.
Minneapolis Pride Crawl
Saturday, June 22, 8 p.m.–2 a.m.
Drink specials at several area bars. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Twin Cities Pride organization. For more details, go to pridecrawl.com.
Pride activities at the Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
— Gay Pride Month Display, thru July 1 in the atrium’s display case
— “Gay Pride: Gen Silent Screening and Panel Discussion,” Thursday, June 20, 7–9 p.m. in Pohlad Hall.
— “Gay Pride: Celebrating Our Family Stories,” Saturday, June 22, 10 a.m.–noon in the Doty Board Room.
— “Gay Pride: Poetry Reading,” Tuesday, June 25, 7–9 p.m. in Pohlad Hall.
Sunday, June 23, 9 a.m. at the Como Park East Pavilion
An event featuring a 5K race, kids fun run and one-mile family week with a picnic at the end of the course.
Uptown Pride Block Party
Friday, June 28, 6–10 p.m., Bryant & Lake
Entertainment lineup includes MC Foxy Tann, L’Assassins, Chastity Brown, Dykes Do Drag, Sick of Sarah, Southside Desire, Epitome No Question and many more. A portion of event proceeds will go to OutFront MN.
The Beer Dabbler
Friday, June 28, 5:30–9:30 p.m. in Loring Park
The event will feature beer samples from 25 local breweries and food from 25 food trucks. For more details, go to thebeerdabbler.com.
Saturday, June 29, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sunday, June 30, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. in Loring Park
The festival will feature more than 400 exhibitors and 40 food and beverage vendors. Highlights this year include a new Wedding Showcase area and Boom Town, a resource hub for older LGBT attendees.
Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade
Sunday, June 30, 11 a.m. on Hennepin
The parade starts at 3rd Street North and ends at Spruce Place.
Chris Kluwe reading
Sunday, June 30, 6 p.m. at The Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Ave. S.
Kluwe will read from his new book, “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football and Assorted Absurdities.”