MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - This year's Pride celebrations promise to be among the most meaningful in recent memory, as the LGBTQ+ community gathers to celebrate their achievements and each other, while also rallying against Friday’s historic Supreme Court decision and a nationwide uptick of attacks against their rights and identity.
First, there is lots to celebrate. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Twin Cities Pride Festival, and the first full-on Pride fest in two years, since the 2020 edition was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and last year's edition was scaled back.
Twin Cities Pride Board Chair Felix Foster says the festival saw its largest crowds in 2015, when more than 400,000 people attended, with the festival coming on the heels of the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision, which legalized gay marriage. He hopes to see similar numbers this year.
"We know people are excited about getting back to Pride events, we are too!... Now that Pride is back in full swing, we are looking for that kind of turnout this year as well," he said in a statement.
But this year's festival also comes with added weight, with the Supreme Court again a factor. In recent months, there has been an upsurge in hateful rhetoric against LGBTQ+ people, which has begun to spill over into violence. Then came Friday's ruling overturning Roe V. Wade, which included a concurrent opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas that suggested the court should next consider overturning Obergefell.
"There are so many things that are unknown in what will follow this historic misstep and it may feel as if our progress has been set back. We have been fighting for our rights to exist for 50 years. We are not a community to be hushed by those who would seek to oppress us. Our existence is not up for debate," Ned Butler, the policy chair of the Twin Cities Pride Board of Directors, said in a statement following the ruling.
The current context makes the theme for this year's pride - Past, Present, Future - seem all the more appropriate. "We chose this theme to remember the beginnings of Pride as a protest, every step toward progress made since then and to highlight the future generations of Twin Cities Pride," Foster said.
Butler urged festival-goers to be particularly kind to each other this weekend, in light of the ruling, saying, "so many have already expressed just anger and valid pain at the decision made by the Supreme Court of the United States. This is a reminder to be kind and be intentional in our intersectional care as so many have been impacted by what has happened today."
Here's a rundown of key events occurring for Pride in the Twin Cities this weekend. For more, check out the calendar section of the Twin Cities Pride site.
Twin Cities Pride Festival
When: Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 6 pm
Where: Loring Park, Minneapolis
What: This years festival will feature local BIPOC and LGBTQ+ vendors, food courts, a beer garden and music stages. Family-friendly. Remember to bring sunscreen.
Saloon Block Party
When: Saturday and Sunday, 12 pm to 2:00 am
Location: 830 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
What: Techno/house/dance party, see the line-up here. Note: Poppy will be performing Sunday, just as a DJ, but your writer still plans to be there.
Pride Comedy Show
When: Saturday, 7 p.m. or 9 p.m.
Location: Sisyphus Brewing in Minneapolis
What: A stand-up comedy show To celebrate LGBTQIA+ pride
Pride in Concert
When: Doors at 6 p.m., Show at 8:30 p.m.
Location: The Armory in Minneapolis
Who: Carly Rae Jepsen, Rebecca Black and DJ Queen Duin
Twin Cities LGBTQ+ Pride March Honoring Ashley Rukes
When: 11 am to 2 p.m.
Location: Starts at 7th & Hennepin, proceeds down Hennepin to Spruce then into Loring Park
What: Over 100 parade blocks and flotillas. See the full lineup here.
There will be three Grand Marshals to go with the festival's theme:
Past - Jean Tetter (he/him): Participant from the first Twin Cities Pride March in 1972
Present - Nic Zapko (she/her): ASL Interpreter for Gov. Tim Walz and activist
Future - Hildie Edwards (they/them): Trans youth activist
Team Trans Hockey Exhibition Games
When: Sunday 6-9 p.m.
Location: Parade Ice Garden
What: An all-transgender hockey team will play against other LGBTQIA+ hockey teams and celebrate and honor the history of LGBTQIA+ hockey in the Twin Cities.