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Take Pride in D.C.'s Biggest Festival

One of the greatest benefits of living around Washington, D.C. is that there are an immense number of cultures and beliefs represented within the city limits. This city truly has a little bit of everything, and is welcoming to everyone.

Of the multitude of different groups here, one is a thriving gay community, which finds support across the Metro area. Every year, this group returns the favor, throwing one of the biggest events in the city, a week-long celebration supporting Washington’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents. The event is one of the area’s best opportunities for both enjoyment and education.

The festival, held by the Capital Pride Alliance, is simply known as Capital Pride, and its mission is “to celebrate, motivate, and support” the GLBT population in Washington D.C. The first event they held in D.C. was all the way back in 1975, when the organization was known as Gay Pride. It developed a strong tie to this city when, back in 1979, then-Mayor Marion Barry attended the festival. He’s since attended every festival and the event now enjoys strong support from all of the city’s residents, which has allowed the festival to prosper and grow. Today, it is considered the fourth-largest GLBT event in the United States.

The actual festival began on May 30th, but the biggest events are this weekend, including one of the area’s largest parades and a happening street festival.

On Saturday, June 9th, the Capital Pride Parade takes place. It’s an experience unlike any other and has earned the Washington City Paper’s award for best parade four years in a row. It’s loud, upbeat and everyone, crowd and participants, enjoy themselves thoroughly. The host for this year’s festival is Monte Durham, from TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta.

The parade kicks off at 4:30 p.m. at the intersection of 22nd and P Street and then wraps around Dupont Circle before turning up New Hampshire Avenue. From there, it cuts across R, down 17th and back to P. The parade finishes by turning down 14th Street and ending up in Logan Circle.

Unlike most parades, this one is also a competition, with Capital Pride giving out awards like the “Most Outrageous: Liberace Award,” the “Best Decorated: Tina Turner Award,” and the “Best Small Group: Village People Award.” Groups really do put forth their best effort when prepping for the parade, so prepare to be both wowed and impressed.

On Sunday, the celebration only gets bigger. From 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Capital Pride takes over Northwest, D.C. Pennsylvania Avenue is shut down from 3rd Street to 7th Street to accommodate the mass of humanity.

And it really is a large group. This year, Capital Pride expects over 200,000 people to attend the festival on Sunday, turning Washington, D.C.’s main thoroughfare into a sea of support.

At the festival this year, over 250 organizations will be present, from vendors passing out informative pamphlets and freebies, to food tents dishing out some the area’s tastiest vendors.

Attendance to the festival is free, although the organization does accept donations to help raise money for its causes.

But the best way to show support is by attending one of these two events. They’re nationally famous and one of the many reasons that make living in Washington, D.C. such a unique experience.

– David


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