Hundreds of Thousands Expected for Capital Pride

Capital Pride says this year’s parade will include about 240 contingents and is expected to draw about 150,000 people. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

(WB) More than 400,000 people are expected to turn out for D.C.’s Capital Pride Parade, festival and other events this weekend from the D.C. area and Mid-Atlantic region to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York that are credited with triggering the modern LGBT rights movement.

According to the Capital Pride Alliance, the D.C.-based group that organizes D.C.’s annual Capital Pride, this year’s events will include participation from a record number of foreign embassies, including a contingent from all European Union nations.

“This year we are pleased to announce an International Pride Initiative,” a June 4 statement from Capital Pride Alliance says. It says the initiative was “established to foster inter-organizational dialogue and collaboration for diplomatic and international affairs” involving “LGBTQ+ leaders.”

In addition to participation in various ways from as many as 36 European nations, the statement says other important international organizations will participate, including the Organization for American States, the U.N. Association, the World Bank GLOBE, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Department of State, and its LGBT U.S. Foreign Service employee group GLIFAA.

Similar to the last several years, this year’s Capital Pride Parade is scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at 22nd and P Streets, N.W. It will continue along a 1.5 mile route to its finishing point at 14th and R streets, N.W.

Capital Pride says the parade will include about 240 contingents and is expected to draw about 150,000 people including spectators that line the streets to watch the parade along with parade participants.

Capital Pride announced last week that the parade will be led by a group of grand marshals that includes two members of the cast of the hit FX show “Pose,” Dominique Jackson and Hailie Sahr. Joining them as grand marshals are D.C. transgender advocate Earline Budd; Equality Florida leader Brandon Wolf; and gay Brigham Young University valedictorian Matt Easton.

During the day of the parade the Washington Blade is hosting its second annual Pride on the Pier celebration at the city’s Southwest Waterfront Wharf at District Pier 101. The celebration, which is free and open to people of all ages, will take place from 2-9 p.m., at which time a fireworks show will take place.

Also similar to recent past years, the Capital Pride Festival and Concert will take place Sunday, June 9, beginning at noon on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. between 3rd Street, near the U.S. Capitol, and 7th Street.

Capital Pride organizers say 300 exhibitors that include local community organizations and businesses, food vendors, and national businesses “looking to promote their products and services to our community” will participate in the festival through 7 p.m.

A list of exhibitors in Capital Pride’s 2019 Pride Guide shows a diverse array of organizations and businesses scheduled to be present in exhibitor booths. Among them are the Washington National Cathedral, the Shakespeare Theater Company, the CIA, the U.S. Census Bureau, the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, and Capital One Bank, Casa Ruby, and the offices of D.C. Council members Anita Bonds (D-At-Large) and Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large).

Also scheduled to have an exhibitors booth is the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is expected to draw sympathetic festival goers in the wake of last week’s mass shooting that claimed the lives of 12 Virginia Beach residents.

Throughout the day and up until 9 p.m. a wide range of entertainers will perform at the Capital Pride Concert, which takes place at the festival’s main stage at 3rd and Pennsylvania Ave.

Among them are the internationally acclaimed American electronic music producer and DJ Marshmello; and fellow headliners Zara Larsson, Todrick Hall, Shea Diamond, Nina West, and Calm Scott.

Capital Pride officials say that for those who want to continue to celebrate following the festival and concert, a Sunset Dance Party will continue at the festival’s main stage with music played by a DJ.

“I think the energy and excitement is going to be very high and comparable to last year,” said Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance. “I think folks obviously are going to honor and commemorate what these last 50 years have meant for our community and are excited to show up and participate,” he said.


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