Summer in the Twin Cities isn’t truly complete until the arrival of the Pride Festival, the weekend-long celebration of LGBT culture that both inspires and honors the LGBT community. The MN Pride Festival is the ideal place to acknowledge the sacrifices and hard work that the LGBT community and its allies have put in over the years, but is also an opportunity to let your hair down and join in on an all-out celebration of life. It’s a moving and exciting two days full of history, hope, and some pretty amazing costumes.
Though the Twin Cities Pride Festival, now includes a concert, a 5K, a family picnic, and the ever-popular parade, it was not always a place of carefree celebration. In fact, the first Pride parade held in Minnesota wasn’t an all-out street party but a protest. Established as a show of solidarity with the LGBT community in New York City, where the Stonewall Riots had recently occurred, the first MN Pride “parade” involved around fifty people, about half of whom marched while others waited in Loring Park in case they needed to bail the marchers out of jail, should they get arrested.
Despite this fear of arrest, the marchers who participated in the protest bravely made their way down Nicollet Mall, a path that is now traversed by thousands of people each year during the annual Pride Parade. LGBT historian and original marcher Jean-Nickolaus Tretter said in an interview with the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “I think some people were hoping we’d get arrested” but that the event still resulted in “joy and happiness.” That same joy and happiness is still seen and felt each year when the Pride Festival, a much-anticipated summer event for many people, kicks off in the Twin Cities.
If you want to check out the Pride Festival and all the history, happiness, and hope that it has to offer, make sure to plan ahead and figure out what events you’re interested in attending. More information can be found on the official Pride Festival website, and be sure to keep an eye out for the Minnesota NOW booth.