This post is brought to you in partnership with Charlotte Pride. All opinions are our own.
This weekend’s Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade is set to takeover Uptown on both Saturday and Sunday. Organizers say they expect to meet or exceed the 165,000 visitors they had in 2018. With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots — largely considered to be the spark which ignited the modern movement for LGBTQ equality — Charlotte is due for a phenomenal celebration.
The PNC Bank Festival Zone is open Saturday, Aug. 17, Noon-10 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 18, Noon-6 p.m., with the Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade on Sunday, Aug. 18, 1-3 p.m. The Wells Fargo Stage hosts featured and headlining entertainment both days.
You’ll see all the usual rainbows, imaginatively decked out vendors, and creative parade entries, but here are five must-see attractions over the weekend to keep you busy during the city’s most fabulous weekend each year.
Flourish: A Celebration of LGBTQ Arts & Culture
Previously a semi-independently planned event during the festival weekend, this unique LGBTQ arts and cultural offering will be held inside the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art — right on the festival’s footprint! From 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, stop in at the Bechtler to see performances from local LGBTQ choruses and the Charlotte Pride Band, as well as entertainment from spoken-word artists and screenings of two independent LGBTQ short films. Visitors will also get to see a special performance from the band in the hit Broadway musical “The Band’s Visit,” whose tour is currently playing in Charlotte at the Knight Theater. Outside of the Bechtler, participate in a hands-on art exhibit, “Airing Out The Dirty Laundry.”
Charlotte Pride Health Fair
Presented by Amity Medical Group and Rx Clinic Pharmacy, Charlotte Pride’s new Health Fair is a consolidated area within the festival where visitors can visit with a variety of healthcare organizations. Vendors include HIV/AIDS service organizations, reproductive healthcare providers and advocates, local hospitals, substance abuse prevention workers, and more. The Salisbury VA Hospital will also be present with information for LGBTQ veterans. Visitors can even talk to an LGBTQ-affirming dental care provider and chiropractor.
Charlotte Pride Karaoke Stage
One of the biggest hits of each year’s festival! Grab a beer and head on over to the Charlotte Pride Karaoke Stage to sign up for a slot. Pick your song and belt it out like a superstar!
Family & Youth Zones
Pride is a party! For all ages! PNC Bank will have its Mobile Learning Adventure at the event, where young ones up to the age of five can play dress up and imagine what they’ll be when they grow up and get a big person job. For teens and older children, stop by the Charlotte Pride Youth Zone, presented by Microsoft in partnership with Time Out Youth. Interactive activities include video games and more!
For the second year in a row, Charlotte Pride has put an intentional focus on ensuring artists and entertainers on the Wells Fargo Stage are as diverse as ever! Headliner Betty Who takes the stage on Saturday evening, with opening acts from MAX and TT The Artist. On Sunday, catch Kristen Merlin from NBC’s “The Voice,” Persian songstress Gia Woods and Amara La Negra of “Love & Hop Hop: Miami” fame. Asia O’Hara and Kameron Michaels, two performers from the ever-popular hit TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” will also perform on Saturday.