Update: Due to inclement weather, Pride Splash & Ride has been rescheduled from July 29 to August 12. Some details may be subject to change.
“The exciting thing about the Pride Splash & Ride each year is those who participate,” says Ryan Bos, executive director of Capital Pride. “The event originated as a way to bring our entire community and our whole region together at Six Flags America.”
Now in its fifth year, Splash & Ride offers LGBTQ attendees reduced price admission — $42 if purchased beforehand and $54 on the day — and access to all theme park and water park rides, from one of the area’s premiere coasters, Superman (now with an optional VR component) to the Vortex/Riptide water slide, which plunges riders into 360-degree whirlpools.
Brian Reach, executive director of NOVA Pride, recalls scoping out the theme park with Capital Pride members prior to the very first Splash & Ride.
“We did a photoshoot when the park was closed, and they let us ride the rides,” he says. Along for the fun was local drag entertainer Ba’Naka, who came in full regalia. “It was pretty hilarious watching a drag queen in full-on face go down the waterslides. The way they come out on the bottom is always different, with wigs in the water and what not.”
To make sure as many people can join in the fun as possible, Capital Pride will provide two shuttles from Nellie’s Sports Bar, departing at 12:15 p.m. and 2 p.m., returning later that night.
And you’ll want to stay, as Happy Hour is from 6 to 8 p.m. exclusively for Pride Splash & Ride ticket holders, with local D.C. drag queens performing. Soon afterwards, D.C.-area DJs will start spinning as part of an exclusive dance party that lasts until midnight. Those not in a dancing mood are guaranteed extended access to the waterslides, whirlpools, and lazy river.
“The day of the event is always fantastic,” says Reach. “Even the Warner Brothers characters come out and have fun. One year, we had Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck out on the dance floor together.”
The 5th Annual Pride Splash & Ride is Saturday, Aug. 12, at Six Flags America and Hurricane Harbor, 13710 Central Ave. in Upper Marlboro, Md. from 10:30 a.m. to midnight. The afterhours Pride Pool Party and Dance starts at 8 p.m. Visit pridesplash.org.
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