Tuesday, 14 June 2022 12:24

The Return of Grand Rapids Pride Festival

Written by  Claire Chapin
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Grand Rapids Pride Festival. Grand Rapids Pride Festival. Courtesy Photo

Pride is back! Well, it never left, but the Grand Rapids Pride Festival is back in-person for the first time since 2019.

The annual festival, focusing on celebrating diversity and bringing the LGBTQ+ community together with local allies, organizations and businesses, returns to Calder Plaza and the surrounding areas of downtown Grand Rapids from 12 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 18th.

And what a return! This 34th year of the Pride Festival features many Michigan-originated music acts, headlined by Detroit-based Jax Anderson, formerly known as Flint Eastwood. The entertainment continues all day with more music, comedians, drag, poets and local DJ Keller Shaw spinning all day. The Prince-themed afterparty will take place at GLC Monroe Live, so the music never stops.

While the main attractions occur in Calder Plaza, the street festival section stretches down Ottawa Ave., from Michigan to Lyon Streets, featuring many local organizations and businesses. Once you get hungry, the food court located in the Fifth Third Bank parking lot will satiate with food from a variety of local restaurant vendors, and then you can take a quick walk over to the beer garden, known as The Queer Garden, to quench your thirst with products of many breweries from the area.

Families and children can visit the dedicated Children’s Advocacy Center from noon to 4, courtesy of a partnership between the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and Meijer. The All of Us research program sponsored by Spectrum Health will be present all day, along with Healthy Pride Internal Resource Group and various other resources provided by local organizations.

This year, tickets are free and masks are encouraged, as are all expressions of pride. A team of LGBTQ+-owned private professional security services will be ensuring the safety of all attendees, so everyone can enjoy the festival safely and peacefully.

For a full itinerary, visit grpride.org.

Beyond the festival, West Michigan is celebrating Pride all month long. Several local businesses will host events in the upcoming weeks:

Pride Outside Market
Outside Coffee Co.
June 16, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pride Meet Up
Terra Firma Bouldering Co.
June 17, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Annual Block Party
The Apartment Lounge
June 19, 2 p.m to 10 p.m.

Pride Night Pop-Up
Circle Theater Grand Rapids
June 20, 7 p.m.

Beauty Beyond Drag Productions
Harmony Hall
June 25, 9 p.m.

Holland Pride Celebration
Centennial Park
June 25, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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