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Denver celebrating 50 years of LGBTQ Pride, expecting 550,000+ attendees

City of Denver celebrating 50 years of LGBTQ Pride, expecting 550,000+ attendees
City of Denver celebrating 50 years of LGBTQ Pride, expecting 550,000+ attendees 02:03

The City of Denver is one month away from celebrating one of the biggest festivities in Colorado: Denver Pride. This is the 50th year of the celebration. 

This event brings hundreds of thousands of people together from the LGBTQ+ community with allies. CEO Rex Fuller with Center on Colfax tells CBS Colorado Traffic Reporter Brian Sherrod this is expected to be the biggest pride ever. Denver Pride is expecting to have more than 550,000 in attendance the weekend of June 22nd and June 23rd. 

At the Denver Pride celebration, attendees can expect a world of dancing, multiple stages with entertainers, a trans resource center and much more. Even though this event is meant for everyone to have fun, Fuller tells CBS Colorado not to forget the people who fought and continue to fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Fuller tells CBS News Colorado in many states, communities are losing their rights to be themselves. Fuller says the fight for equality never stops.

Pride Parade 2023 in downtown Denver
DENVER, CO - JUNE 25: Employees of Coors Brewing Company hold balloons that spell out PRIDE as they take part in the Denver Pride Parade on June 25, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. Hundreds of thousands joined in or attended the parade that went for three hours. The parade spanned 14 blocks of Colfax Avenue from Cheesman Park to Civic Center, where the celebrations continued on day two of Denver PrideFest. Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

"Fifty years ago, when they were first holding pride, there were no civil rights protections for the LGBTQ community," Fuller said. "You could easily be fired for being gay or lose your housing. By being visible and being out and proud in the community, that really has led to changes over the last five decades where we have marriage equality. Now, we have a lot of civil rights protections in the state of Colorado in the community."

Denver Pride will be held at Civic Center Park on Saturday, June 22nd from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Sunday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

This year's festivities will include: 

·                     The Denver PRIDE 5K. Participants will run, walk or roll starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, while raising funds for critically important programs supporting Colorado's LGBTQ+ community.  

·                     Coors Light Denver Pride Parade. It will be kicking off at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 23. The parade spans 14 blocks and features hundreds of floats, music and marchers. 

The Center Stage even has a new line-up to include: 

Alyssa Edwards presented by Nissan (she/her) Justin Dwayne Lee Johnson, widely known as Alyssa Edwards, is an American entertainer, choreographer, drag performer, and television personality. Before gaining television fame, Johnson was a highly skilled dance instructor and an accomplished figure in the drag pageantry scene. His breakthrough came on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race in 2012, where his candid testimonials, iconic tongue-pops, and distinctive personality made him a fan favorite. He later returned for Season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars in 2016, finishing as the fourth runner-up. Alyssa Edwards has since become a household name with a global presence, captivating audiences across North America, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. In addition to his international appearances, Johnson owns and operates the award-winning dance studio Beyond Belief Dance Company in Mesquite, Texas. The studio and Johnson are featured in the Netflix Original docuseries Dancing Queen, produced by RuPaul and World of Wonder. 

Shea Couleé (she/they) is a non-binary, internationally-renowned drag superstar, recording artist, model, and actor, known for their fashion-forward editorial looks, expanding their artistry and brand into many different spaces, and their consistent use of the art of drag and costuming as a medium for larger storytelling, having been applauded by Vogue for doing so. Widely celebrated as an activist focused on uplifting LGBTQIA+ individuals and the BIPOC community, they have countlessly shared how important it is for them to harness their career in drag to inspire, calling their drag a "love letter to Black women." Couleé is the Season 5 winner (2020) of VH1's RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars and finished a finalist on Season 7 (2022), the special all-winners edition. 

Pattie Gonia (they/she/he) is a critically acclaimed drag queen, artist and environmentalist. Their work exists to diversify the outdoor/environmental movements and Make Nature Gay Again. Pattie has been named Outside Magazine's Person of the Year, National Geographic Traveler of the Year and most recently, Time Magazine named Pattie a Next Gen Leader 2023. 

Together with her community, they've fundraised over $2 million for LGBTQIA+, BIPOC and environmental non-profits, completed thousands of miles of hiking and raised awareness about the ongoing environmental crisis through their film projects like Won't Give Up with Yo-Yo Ma and Quinn Christopherson. 

Mirage, (she/her) hailed the "Legs of Las Vegas," Mirage steals the show wherever she goes, captivating audiences worldwide with her electrifying performances and signature heel clacking. Since her crushing exit from the show, Mirage has successfully secured her spot as a fan favorite on the most recent season of RuPaul's Drag Race, and with over 5 million streams on Spotify, she's also secured her spot as an official dance floor diva with her viral hit "She's such a B****." What will she do next? It's all.. a Mirage. 

Also, this year, Denver PrideFest will go green with the launch of new sustainability initiatives for the festival's 50th anniversary. With the help of Southwest Airlines, the festival will add 150 recycling bins on-site with the goal of reaching 50 percent waste diversion. 

Past festivals have left Civic Center Park clean and in good condition as part of Denver PrideFest's 'Leave No Trace' policies. New this year, every trash can at PrideFest will be paired with a recycling bin to increase waste diversion. A green team of volunteers and staff will focus on education, awareness, and creating a clean stream of material to be recycled after the event. 

To encourage sustainability during the event and after, Denver PrideFest will partner with environmentalist and drag queen Pattie Gonia to develop sustainability education content for social media and the Denver Pride website. Pattie Gonia will also perform on Center Stage as a headliner and encourage attendees to recycle through on-site stage announcements. 

"Partnering with Southwest Airlines and Pattie Gonia represents a significant step forward in Denver PrideFest's ongoing efforts to reduce waste and increase sustainability," said Rex Fuller, CEO of The Center on Colfax. "These collaborations allow us to make a greener festival experience a reality, resulting in a positive impact in our community." 

 Additional waste reduction initiatives include: 

  • Water trailers on-site to fill reusable water bottles and cut down on the number of single-use plastic bottles
  • Utilizing reusable cups (rcups) in the VIP area for all mixed drinks
  • Moving toward serving drinks in recyclable aluminum cans
  • Requiring food vendors to supply recyclable containers for their product

Find the full details including the Pride Parade and how to volunteer online:

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