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Dancers perform on the Civic Center main stage during 2019’s Denver Pride. Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/the Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver Pride and Juneteenth Music Festival Join Forces

Both celebrations occur during June each year—and they’re making the most of it.

For decades, the third weekend of June heralded complicated identity-juggling for Colorado’s Black LGBTQ community. Denver Pride, the celebration of queer liberation run by the Center on Colfax since 1977, attracted 450,000 revelers in 2019. Yet some of those attendees were missing another important observance. Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, falls on June 19, so festivities—including the nine-year-old Juneteenth Music Festival, which brought in 90,000 celebrants in 2019—usually coincided with Denver Pride. “We wanted our community to be able to attend both,” says Joe Foster, the center’s vice president of development and communication. So when city officials suggested moving Denver Pride one weekend later, Foster’s team happily complied. That’s no small thing, says Juneteenth Music Festival director Norman Harris, but the resulting alliance outshines any logistical frustrations. Juneteenth will incorporate more aspects of queer culture, like drag, and Denver Pride plans to bring in more vendors and performers of color. And that’s just year one, Harris says: “I’m excited to see what we create as we break down the silos.”

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