June is Pride Month! In almost all big cities, and a lot of smaller ones as well, there are celebrations going on. The bigger events are towards the end of the month, though smaller neighborhoods have already started the festivities. Seattle, being a rather progressive city, has been throwing Pride events (officially) since 1974 when the first Pride Week was held from June 24th to the 30th. In 2007, PrideFest (a non-profit 501c3) took over and has been throwing the biggest and best events ever since!
The two ‘official’ Pride events are PrideFest Capitol Hill and PrideFest Seattle Center. Capitol Hill is where Pride began all those years ago, and it stands to reason that it is where the kick-off party is. It’s the biggest festival on the Hill all year, and gets started around noon on Saturday, June 29th. 5 blocks are closed to traffic and are filled with food, vendors, 5 stages of music and entertainment – and some of the best people watching you’ll find. The event is free and goes (officially) until 9pm. And if that’s a little before you want to call it a day, almost every bar in the area has some sort of after party happening!
PrideFest Seattle Center is Sunday, June 30th from noon to 8pm. This is the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York, the event which really started the movement for equal rights for all. The event is free and is tons of fun!
There are a lot of ‘unofficial’ Pride events around the city as well, here is one of the more notable ones you won’t want to miss – TransPride! This event takes place on Friday, June 28th from 5:00 PM – 9:30 PM at Cal Anderson Park following the UW Q’s Trans Pride Parade at Seattle Central Community College. The parade is A LOT of fun and is a great way to meet people from around the state and celebrate our Trans friends and family. This is the yearly kick-off to Pride Weekend and isn’t just for Trans People. Everyone is welcome to join! There will be live music, food and merch booths with just about anything your little heart might desire. TransPride Pro Tip: If you are not Trans, remember not to stare. If this is your first time at an event like this, it may be a new experience seeing Trans people. And as interested as you may be about, well, everything, remember that staring can make people feel weird. And this weekend is all about including everyone and NOT making anyone feel weird. That being said, another point of this celebration is to educate people about the Trans movement and Trans people. So don’t be afraid to ask questions, most everyone will be happy to have an open and honest conversation with you. If you aren’t sure how to address someone (he/him, she/her, they/them) introduce yourself first, and politely ask how they would like to be addressed. Again, as this is about education and the inclusion of everyone, most people won’t be offended by this question.
Let’s talk about Shopping! Each event has it’s own shopping area with vendors offering everything from local art to cool clothing and everything in between. Yes, it is 2019, but a lot of vendors are CASH ONLY so make sure you have some. Many will take debit/credit cards, but at outdoor festivals and parades cash is still king. Don’t forget to stop by the ATM on your way.
A note about parking: there isn’t much. Each event has some public parking lots available, more at Seattle Center an anywhere else, but public transportation or ride sharing are going to be your best bet for a stress-free Pride weekend!
Last, but not least, don’t forget your water and sunscreen! The weather is usually nice, and can even be hot so please be prepared. Since you’ll have your bag or backpack with you for all the amazing treasures you find, it’s a good idea to throw in some lip balm, pain reliever (it can get LOUD) and snacks.
Here are some great resources for Pride Events: https://www.seattlepridefest.org/, https://www.thestranger.com/events/40446605/trans-pride-seattle-2019, https://www.queerpridefestival.com/.