The crowds are now filing out of New York after a month of celebration over a bar on Christopher Street in the West Village of Manhattan. World Pride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The build-up was astounding with stories from June 28, 1969 being retold and new stories added to bridge the history of these past five decades of the LGBTQ+ movement.
There are still some cities that will host Pride celebrations, such as San Diego, Vancouver, Austin, and so forth. However, the discovery of Pride in places you never thought would exist are part of what this year’s celebration of Pride Month is all about. The resonance from that evening in New York is felt in large and small communities around the world.
The idea of travel is to discover new and different places. It is to stretch out from the familiar into a different world. This is why we promote and encourage road trips for those reasons.
Perhaps a road trip to a smaller community with a Pride celebration this summer is in order! Here are just a few suggestions based on a national calendar and confirmed through the community’s Pride celebration’s website.
July 6 – Cedar Rapids, IA
July 13 – Lewiston, ID
July 13-14 – Colorado Springs, CO
July 14 – Bellingham, WA
July 20 – Bremerton, WA
July 20 – Green Bay, WI
July 27 – Reno, NV
August 1-3 – Taos, NM
August 10-11 – Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN
August 11 – Eugene, OR
August 17 – Toledo, OH
August 18 – Madison, WI
August 24 – New London, CT
August 24 – Akron, OH
August 24 – Moscow, ID
August 31-September 1 – Duluth, MN/Superior, WI
September 7 – Mankato, MN
September 7 – Worcester, MA
September 21 – St. Cloud, MN
September 27-29 – Wichita, KS
September 27-29 – Moab, UT
September 28 – Rochester, MN
We try to list as many from various parts of the U.S.A. as we can. There are probably several others worth listing, but we found that their websites are non-functional. Another way to confirm these events are through social media or through the local visitor bureau’s website.
From our own experience, some of these celebrations are definitely worth the road trip.
Just a few things about smaller communities. One, do not expect a large LGBTQ+ community in town, as you would coming from a larger metropolis. Also, there may be a bar or two or some LGBTQ+ friendly coffeehouse or restaurant.
However, these communities have the advantage of being friendlier and closer knit than a so-called “gay mecca.” You may be surprised by the service you receive at a restaurant or at a hotel. You will also find a community that welcomes us from the local visitor’s bureau to even the person on the street.
On the day of Pride, you will see a majority of our community on display. Don’t be shocked when they see you are from out-of-town and offer you to meet other locals just to say “hello.” Hospitality goes a very long way.
Even for those of us who live well beyond any LGBTQ+ friendly community, these Pride celebrations in smaller communities serve as beacons that invite us in. It is a place where they can be themselves, living their authentic lives, and finding community away from home.
Any such trip will require a lengthy drive, a comfortable place to stay, and some lay of the land in terms of restaurants and other places to eat and drink. On our short list above, that will vary depending on the breadth of the community and whether it is a tourism nexus or not.
For example, Duluth-Superior during the summer is very popular with tourists. The Twin Ports has a lot of places to stay and dine, including a few bars in Superior itself. However, hotel rooms are quite expensive all summer long, but don’t let that spoil the fun during Labor Day Weekend.
On the other hand, some of these places have great rates on accommodations and have easy access to the festivities. We found Fargo to be within a budget and you can’t go wrong with wherever you stay in town. Also, Wichita has some affordable places to stay and a great restaurant scene.
In all, the goal is to spread the love and joy that is part and parcel of LGBTQ+ life. It is an incentive to pack up the vehicle – flags, t-shirts, and other necessities to celebrate Pride – and head to these celebrations!
No matter where you call home, come celebrate Pride in a place that is warmer, more welcoming, and worth celebrating.