By OLY ARTS STAFF
Capital City Pride hosts the largest small-town pride festival in the Pacific Northwest. Pride brings together the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and allied communities to affirm and celebrate LGBTQ identity. The Capital City Pride Parade & Festival are family-friendly events that are free and open to the public.
Mayor Cheryl Selby welcomes this unique experience to downtown Olympia: “Pride is an integral part of Olympia, not only because it is an opportunity to lift up the experiences of the LGBTQ members of our community, but also gives us the opportunity to stand together with our friends of all gender identities and experiences to demonstrate what it means to be an inclusive community, here in Olympia.”
“Our parade isn’t just a celebration, it’s an affirmation of identity,” says Pride chair Gina Thompson. “We launched our small-town Pride 28 years ago with 400 people marching on the Capital for gay rights.” Capital City Pride has grown to become one of the most vibrant community festivals in the region. It draws nearly 15,000 people for events that unite gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, other-identified and straight people from all over the Pacific Northwest.
“The state of Washington has a proud history of inclusivity, tolerance and compassion for all residents,” says Governor Jay Inslee. “Our diversity of people and cultures is a critical part of who we are, both as a state and as a nation. It doesn’t matter who you love, your gender identity, where you come from or what language you speak, you are welcome here. I am happy to be part of Pride celebrations in Olympia and wish everyone throughout the state a happy Pride month.”
Entertainment in 2018 includes The Sexbots, an artist who combines neoclassical and modern dance. Also returning this year will be the vaudevillean drag troupe Caravan of GLAM from Portland, which recently appeared on America’s Got Talent.
Pride Parade, scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Sunday, June 10, is always the highlight of Pride. Entries will include flashy floats, marching contingents representing various segments of the LGBTQ community, drag queens, such faith groups as local churches, and families and allies who support equality and respect for the LGBTQ community.
The Pride Festival, at Heritage Park near Capital Lake, will host a variety of vendors, 100 food and craft booths and a colorful family-activity center.
Pride Festival celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQ community. As Thompson notes: “It may not be possible to create a single festival that fits every member of our diverse community, but that doesn’t mean we stop trying. Whether you come to Pride to celebrate, to be seen, to feel sexy or to be silly, we have space for you.”
Capital City Pride 2018
Parade in downtown Olympia
Festival at Heritage Park, Fifth Ave. SW, Olympia
June 7-10 (details, pages 14 and 15)