Courtesy Capital City Pride
'Solidarity Through Pride' is the theme of this year's Olympia Parade and Festival, the 26th annual event hosted by Capital City Pride and scheduled for Friday through Sunday, June 17-19. The celebration is family-friendly, free, and open to the public.
Here is a brief schedule of events:
Kick-off: Friday, June 17, 8 p.m. - All-ages Street Party in front of Oly Underground (109 Legion Way), featuring music, drag performances, speeches, and a fire show (at 9 p.m.).
Festival: Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Heritage Park, Water and 7th Ave. S.E. Features music, food booths, a bounce-house for the kids, and lots more.
Parade: Sunday, June 19, noon to 1 p.m., down Capitol Way from the Capitol to Heritage Park. Pre-show 11 a.m. to noon at the intersection of Capitol and Legion Way.
Pride 2016 brings together the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, and allied communities to celebrate, promising something for everyone. According to Pride Chair Anna Schlecht, 'What a difference 26 years makes! We launched our small town Pride 26 years ago with 400 people marching on the Capitol for Gay rights. Now, we are one of the biggest summer festivals around. Since then, we have made huge strides toward full equality and the greater Olympia area embraces us and the Pride Festival as part of the community. Once again, we hope to paint the town rainbow and we invite everyone to join us in celebrating Pride 2016!'
The entertainment lineup offers exciting new performers and old favorites. This year, Pride brings Whitney Monge, a singer/songwriter from Seattle whose alternative soul music is taking the region by storm. The Pride Festival also features crowd favorites like the Kim Archer Band, an R&B band from Tacoma that is one of the hardest-working dance bands in the Pacific Northwest. Also returning will be Xavier Toscano and his high-octane dancers from the San Francisco Bay Area. Also returning this year is the awe-inspiring Caravan of Glam from Portland, a vaudeville-meets-drag troupe who are coming off their star turn on America's Got Talent. Other musical surprises are in store over the long Pride weekend.
The Pride Parade is always the highlight of Pride. Entries will include flashy floats, marching contingents wearing rainbow-themed bling, and drag queens from near and far who will serve up that marvelous concoction of Las Vegas-styled glamour on high heels. According to Gina Thompson, parade coordinator, 'While I've worked on the parade for a couple years, this is my first time coordinating it. I love how our Parade not only celebrates the diversity within our community but proudly and tastefully displays it for all to enjoy.' Thompson continues, 'Pride is a family-friendly event that invites the general public in not only recognizing the sacrifices and efforts that went into this cause, but also honors the achievements and the future of our GLBTQ community. That's something that I am very proud to be a part of.'
With nearly 100 booths, a robust family activity center and the ever-popular Fabulous Food Court, Pride 2016 will spring up like a one-weekend LGBTQ city near Capitol Lake. Encircled by banners and tall rainbow flags, the Pride Festival grounds create the perfect place to honor diversity and celebrate Pride Olywa!
Pride Day has grown since 1991 to become one of the most vibrant community festivals in the Thurston County area. As the first Northwestern small-town Pride outside the safety of a big city, the Olympia Pride Festival has grown from a small march for equality to one of the largest festivals in the County. For more information, visit Capital City Pride on Facebook or at www.capitalcitypride.net.
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