What can be more pride-tastic than the rainbow flags and bunting that adorn many of the storefronts along 17th Street? For seasoned Borderstanis, this is probably a rhetorical question; for recent transplants, let us tell you — the Capital Pride Parade!
The parade is coming up this Saturday, June 11 and begins at Dupont Circle at 5:30 pm. Pre-Parade entertainment begins at 3 pm in front of the judges’ stand at Whole Foods on the 1400 block of P Street NW. This year’s parade marshall is The Trevor Project, which is dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBT youth.
LGBT Pride celebrations have grown exponentially since their earlier days in the 70’s and 80’s. From simple street festivals and parades, Pride celebrations have grown to Drag kickball, speakers, idol and 12 days of activities, seminars, special events and fundraisers, concluding with this year’s festival on Sunday.
Yet, despite the variety of events, the parade remains the highlight for many if not most people in the LGBT community — and their friends and neighbors who live in historically gay neighborhoods. (Check out Luis’ photos from the 2010 parade.)
Parade Route and Map: The Pride Parade starts west of Dupont Circle on P Street NW, and finishes at Thomas Circle (14th and N NW). From Dupont Circle, the parade heads northeast up New Hampshire Avenue NW, then east on R Street, then south on 17th Street, then east on P Street before heading south on 14th to Thomas Circle.
Look for Borderstan.com in the parade. We’re proud to be among this year’s Capital Pride media sponsors. The Parade is produced with support from Cobalt, Whole Foods and JR.’s Bar & Grill.
Judges will award the following prizes to parade contingents: Best Visiting: Dame Edna Award; Best Walking: Nancy Sinatra Award; Best Decorated: Tina Turner Award; Best Incorporation of Theme: Lady Ga Ga Award; Best New Contingent: New Kid on the Block Award; Best Small Group: Village People Award; Best Public Sector Award: Harvey Milk Award; and Judges’ Award.
Capital Pride Factoids
While Pride Parades tend to happen later in June in such cities as New York, Chicago and San Francisco, the D.C. Parade occurs relatively early, on the second Saturday of the month. (The Pride Festival is held separately, this year on Sunday, and is on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, between 4th and 7th Streets.) If you didn’t know, Pride parades are held in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots and demonstrations outside the now-famous bar in New York’s Greenwich Village that began on June 28, 1969.
From Capital Pride: “The current Capital Pride celebration traces its history to the first LGBT festival in Washington, D.C., which was held in 1975. That year, Deacon Maccubbin, who owned Lambda Rising bookstore, organized a one-day community block party on 20th Street N.W., the then-location of the bookstore.
“Maccubbin and Lambda Rising hosted the event for the first five years of its existence, until it grew to 10,000 attendees and spread over three blocks. The P Street Festival Committee was formed in 1980 to take over Gay Pride Day (as the festival was known), and that organization moved the festival to Francis Junior High School at 24th and N Streets N.W. The next year, the event became known as Gay and Lesbian Pride Day.”
Read more about the history of the Pride Festival in D.C. on the Capital Pride website.