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News stories from and about the Charlotte region's LGBTQ community.

Charlotte Pride parade and festival returns bigger and prouder after three years

charlotte pride jessa oconnor.jpg
Jessa O'Connor
/
WFAE
The Charlotte Pride Festival as seen in 2018.

After two years of patiently waiting, the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade is back and bigger than ever. For the first time since 2019, the event makes its way to uptown Saturday, Aug. 20, and Sunday, Aug. 21.

Charlotte Pride Organizers expect this weekend's attendees to exceed 2019's record of 200,000 people.

Riley Murray, vice president of Charlotte Pride, has been part of the celebration since 2005. Murray recounts how acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community was vastly different than how it is now.

"We had 1,500 participants, and probably 1,500 protesters," said Murray, "I didn't see a lot of hand holding or giving hugs, anything like that. Now we have over 200,000 participants and a handful of protesters."

In addition to the change in view from the general Charlotte community, Murray says the faith community has also changed in recent years. For the first time, a historically Black church, St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, hosted the organization's interfaith service last Sunday, Aug. 14.

"God always says, 'it takes time, wait and be patient.' We waited, I waited, and I was patient. And now we have the Christian community behind us. It's an amazing feeling to see the first Baptist Black church accept us! That's just mind-blowing," said Murray.

Even though many people are excited about the event's return, Charlotte Pride representatives said during a press conference on Friday that safety is a top priority for the organization. Numerous officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will be present. Additionally, public health safety is also on the organization's mind.

Charlotte Pride Press Conference Matt & Meredith
Dante Miller
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Charlotte Pride’s Communications Director Matt Comer and Programs & Development Manager Meredith Thompson at the Charlotte Pride press conference.

When addressing how they will spread awareness for monkeypox prevention, Charlotte Pride's Communications Director Matt Comer said, "Mecklenburg County Public Health will be at the festival, in the health fair section, at the duration of the event. They'll be providing monkeypox prevention information, treatment information and also directing folks where they can receive vaccines."

The Charlotte Pride event is the city's largest street festival and annual parade. People can expect a lot of traffic and road closures. Attendees are advised to use public transportation for the events.

For details and times, visit their website for more information. Here's what to expect for road closures this coming weekend.

Street Closures:

Saturday, Aug. 20, 5:00 a.m. — Sunday, Aug. 21, 11:00 p.m. 

All east-west cross-streets closing at 5 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20

  • Brooklyn Village Ave. will remain open for east-west vehicular traffic. 
  • North-bound and south-bound vehicular traffic on Tryon Street will be re-routed to College St. (north-bound traffic) and Church St. (sound-bound traffic) 

Sunday, Aug. 21 — 5 a.m.-11 p.m. 

Tryon St. is closed to all traffic.

  • All east-west cross-streets between 4th and Morehead will remain closed. 
  • East-west cross streets between 12th and 4th Sts. will begin closing at 8 a.m. 
  • North-bound and south-bound vehicular traffic on Tryon Street will be re-routed to College St. (north-bound traffic) and Church St. (sound-bound traffic) 
  • Streets used by the Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade will reopen by approximately 11 p.m. on Sunday. 
  • Please consult Charlotte Department of Transportation advisories for additional street closures related to Charlotte FC and Charlotte Knights games.

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Dante Miller is a community engagement producer for WFAE and a Report for America (RFA) Corps members. Dante first joined WFAE in 2020 through RFA to work as part of a unique partnership with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Digital Public Library of America. Her work in that project allowed her to use radio, online stories, Wikipedia entries and events to meet the community's news and information needs.