Metro Weekly

2018 Pride celebrations extend far beyond June: Amsterdam, Reykjavík, the Caribbean and more!

Your guide to some of the best Pride celebrations still to come in 2018

Calgary Pride will celebrate its 28th anniversary, Aug. 24 to Sept. 3, 2018.

It would be easy to think that Pride celebrations only occur in June — after all, it’s the official LGBTQ Pride Month, chosen to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which occured at the end of June 1969. But Pride is celebrated in various locations throughout the year, extending the festivities well beyond June. If you’re traveling this fall, here’s seven destinations to consider if you want to keep Pride going in 2018:

Amsterdam Pride – July 28 to Aug. 5

The largest LGBTQ event in the Netherlands and one of the largest annual Pride celebrations in Europe, Amsterdam Pride has been held the during the first weekend in August since 1999. It’s best known for its Canal Parade, which includes lavishly decorated barges sponsored by various organizations and businesses floating along the city’s famed canal system as hundreds of thousands of spectators show their support. In addition to the parade, Amsterdam Pride includes more than 100 different events including street parties, dances, films, and comedy shows.

Reykjavík Pride – Aug. 7 to 12

Iceland became the first country to elect an openly homosexual leader when lesbian Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir become prime minister in 2009, her election a visible display of the island nation’s highly progressive stance on LGBTQ rights. Reykjavík, the capital and largest city of Iceland, has been holding an annual Pride celebration since 1999. Its many events attract upwards of 100,000 local and visiting participants — which is pretty impressive for a nation of about 350,000 people. Iceland’s first LGBTQ-owned and operated tour operator, Pink Iceland, offers Reykjavík Pride Packages, granting the opportunity to explore many of the countries most popular attractions in addition to attending Reykjavík Pride.

Calgary Pride – Aug. 24 to Sept. 3

While Canada’s Pride celebrations in Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto are practically legendary, Calgary Pride more than holds its own. Located in the western province of Alberta, Calgary is the fourth largest city in Canada and epicenter of the country’s energy industry (think of it as Canada’s version of Dallas).  First held in 1990, Calgary Pride has grown to be one of the largest events in the city. Its parade includes more than 150 entries from community groups, corporations, politicians, churches, and public services passing upwards of 60,000 spectators. The outdoor festival that follows includes a marketplace of community groups and pride-inspired merchandise, beer gardens, delicious food trucks, and live music.

Silicon Valley Pride – Aug. 25 to 26

With its proximity to San Francisco, it should come as no surprise that Silicon Valley has been holding a Pride celebration since 1975. Formerly called San Jose Pride and serving the entire Santa Clara County region, it receives significant support and participation from the many tech companies operating in the area, including Amazon, Square, and Netflix. The celebration kicks off on Saturday with an afternoon trans and friends rally, followed by a fantasy-themed costume festival. It continues on Sunday with a morning parade that leads to an afternoon festival including everything from a “kids zone” to “leatherland.” Silicon Valley Pride has become so popular it is now the largest Pride in Northern California, outside of San Francisco.

Caribbean Pride – Sept. 15 to 22

Fueled by its success last year, Caribbean Pride returns for its second year at the luxurious adults-only CHIC Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic. This unique, all-inclusive Pride celebration includes more than 50 events ranging from a poolside party with Miami’s DJ Citizen Jane, dance parties with New York City’s DJ Johnny Dynell, and performances by the fabulous Toronto drag queen Miss Conception. Guests of Caribbean Pride also have the opportunity to book special off-site excursions, such as a tour of historic Santo Domingo, a catamaran tour along the coast of Bavaro, or VIP admission to Coco Bongo nightclub.

Atlanta Pride – Oct. 12 to 14

When a city’s Pride celebration kicks-off with a party in one of the world’s top-rated aquariums, you know it has to be something special. Celebrating its 48th year, Atlanta holds the largest Pride in the Southeastern United States and attracts approximately 200,000 participants. Originally held in June, it switched to October in 2008 to coincide with National Coming Out Day. In addition to its over-the-top kickoff party held at the Georgia Aquarium, the celebration includes multiple parties, a parade, and a festival in Atlanta’s beautiful Piedmont Park.

Las Vegas Pride – Oct. 19 to 21

Las Vegas is known for its ability to throw amazing events — and its annual Pride celebration is no exception. With average temps hitting 101° in June, Las Vegas holds Pride in October out of necessity more than anything, when you can expect daytime highs in the low 80s. One of two main events, the Las Vegas Pride Parade is a unique night parade that is awash in rainbow colors and fabulous costumes. The parade is followed the next day by a festival that includes more than 100 exhibitors and entertainment by local and international talent. In addition to the parade and festival, many of Las Vegas’ extraordinary nightclubs hold special Pride events.

Honolulu Pride – Oct. 20

For two weeks leading up to Honolulu Pride there are dozens of large rainbow banners lining the busy streets of the popular Waikiki neighborhood as a visible demonstration of Hawaii’s “LGBTQ aloha.” In addition, there are pool parties, dances, performing arts shows, film screenings, musical celebrations, athletic competitions, and other events leading up to the official day-long celebration. For the official observance of Honolulu Pride there is a colorful parade followed by a festival at a beautiful park at the foot of Diamond Head.

Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at thegaytraveler@gmail.com.

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