Pride Served Up Southern Style: 6 Cities that Do It Right

Last Updated 28.05.2023
5 min read

It was June 2022. And the country had largely re-opened after the worst of Covid seemed to be over. After this hiatus, LGBTQ communities all over the country were itching to get back to their parades, parties, festivities, and the camaraderie, activism, and fundraising that all of these events fostered.

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    We are not yet sure what Pride 2023 will look like, but plans are in the works all over the country.

    If this year is anything like last year, several Southern cities are poised once again to be great places for celebrating Pride. It’s not here yet, but let’s have a look-see at what they did in 2022.

    New Orleans, Louisiana

    As in the past, New Orleans has always had one of the largest celebrations in the nation. Last year, the world-famous NOLA Parade went off as usual, finishing on Bourbon Street after four hours – floats, walking groups, and dance troupes. Rainbows everywhere.

    Post Parade parties began at the Parade’s end, notably at Crush, One-Eyed Jacks, and Betty’s Bar & Bistro. No sleep was had by all.

    This year, Pride is June 7-11, with Black NOLA Pride events running from the 9th to the 11th. Check out what has been planned so far.

    Atlanta, Georgia

    Speaking of Black Pride events, Atlanta hosted its first at the Georgia Aquarium in June last year, along with its regular Pride celebrations in August. That event included dancing and festivities at the Aquarium ballroom with a huge after-party, featuring local performers and DJs.

    There was also a Southern Fried Queer Pride celebration later that month – because it was supported by community funding, all events were free.

    This year’s Pride will be the weekend of October 14-15. It will include a parade and a two-day celebration with music, art, food, and merchant participation. There is also an entire week of educational and social events being planned. Check out all of the planned activities.

    Jacksonville, Florida

    Jacksonville has typically had two Pride celebrations – one in June and one in October. There is solid community support for these events with several neighborhood LGBTQ+ organizations scattered throughout the city.

    Last year, one restaurant, Hamburger Mary’s hosted an event with one of RuPaul’s contestants.

    In addition to parades, there was plenty of entertainment – including drag queen and comedian performances. Many of the event host businesses donate a portion of their proceeds to educational programs and scholarships.

    This year, the same types of celebrations and events are planned, both in June and October. The new Florida laws regarding transgender public appearances may impact the final outcome of the events – we’ll wait and see. For continued updates, here is the official link.

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Memphis boasts the largest Pride celebration of the mid-South, always in June. Last year, they also added Tri-State Black Pride to the traditional festivities on a separate weekend.

    This year, the main Pride celebration will be the weekend of June 1 - 4, and the Black Pride events the weekend of June 16-19. The most important events of the general celebration are the outdoor festival and parade on Saturday. Other events include a Drag N Drive dance party the night of June 1, and a Drag brunch on Sunday.

    For the rundown on all of the specific events and celebrations, check out the official Memphis Pride website.

    Louisville, Kentucky

    Pride Fest in Louisville began in 2001. Last year it was held on the Big Four Lawn with a day and night celebration on June 18. Over 20,000 people attended the fest, which included the traditional parade and outdoor festival with entertainment, as well as activities for kids and families. The goal of the Kentuckiana Pride Foundation, which sponsors the events, is educating everyone, gay or straight, and promoting tolerance and understanding.

    This year, Kentuckiana Pride will be held the day of June 17, with the same types of events – a parade, an outdoor festival, and entertainment for both adults and children/families.

    There is also the annual Louisville Pride Fest in the fall. This year it will be held on September 9 with a street fair, featuring food, music, and entertainment. The theme for this year is, “There’s No Place Like Home,” home being the entire community that will keep all of its members safe and secure. Check out all of the details right here.

    Charleston, South Carolina

    Charleston has traditionally held a week-long celebration in the fall for thousands of attendees. To honor Pride month, though, they have always also had a Pride Parade and festival on a day in June.

    This year the annual parade and festival will be on Saturday, June 3. It also looks like this year the larger festival will be held August 19-20, at Riverfront Park, rather than in the fall. Not many details are available on the events yet. This toning down may be in response to recent lawmakers’ anti-transgender proposals currently being discussed in the state legislature. 

    The mission of Charleston Pride, though, remains the same, according to its local organization, that is, “to promote the visibility of the LGBTQ community by educating society, honoring our heritage, advocating for our culture, and celebrating our diverse society.”

    To see how you can participate, volunteer, support and just be a part of this amazing celebration, check out Charleston Pride.

    There You Have It…

    Of course, these six cities are not the only places that celebrate Pride in the South. But if you want to celebrate Pride with a slice of Southern hospitality, you might want to choose one of these destinations.

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