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Every June, Denver swells with pride as a myriad of events celebrating LGBTQ residents and culture take place across the city. This year, there’s extra cause for commemoration, as it’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots (a response to the police raid of the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village in 1969, which became a momentous turning point in the gay rights movement). Organizers of PrideFest, the city’s weekend-long festival put on by the Center on Colfax, a nonprofit organization that supports the LGBTQ community, are expecting one of the biggest turnouts yet, with more than 425,000 projected attendees. In addition to PrideFest’s list of official happenings, there are also some independent events taking place this weekend, too. We’ve picked out a few to help kickstart your pride-filled weekend.
Part of PrideFest, this colorful parade will include the likes of Governor Jared Polis, the nation’s first openly gay governor, and his husband, Marlon Reis; RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Peppermint; state representative Brianna Titone (the first elected openly transgender state legislator in Colorado); and Out Boulder County executive director Mardi Moore. The route winds from Cheesman Park, along Colfax, to Civic Center. The star-studded event typically attracts more than 100,000 onlookers, so stake out a spot early on. June 16, Starting at 9:30 a.m., Cheesman Park
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Local craft breweries, unable to take part in the branded Coors Light parade, took matters into their own hands and created a sudsy soiree just for them. Local favorites like Station 26 Brewing Co., Alternation Brewing Company, and FlyteCo Brewing will be marching a route from Grateful Gnome to Empourium Brewing Company, where they’ll be met with music, ice cream, and—of course—beer. Don’t forget to check out Call to Arms’ brew specially-made for the event, the “Marty McPride,” a Brut IPA with notes of strawberry and melon. A portion of the proceeds of this sip will go to The Trevor Project, a non-profit that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention resources to LGBTQ youth. June 15; noon to 6 p.m.; 4526 Tennyson Street
This lively nightclub celebrates the gay community year-round, but they step it (way) up each year for Pride. Start your festivities on Wednesday with the kick-off party, where Denver EDM group Manufactured Superstars will put on a show. They’ll be hosting a “Rainbow Roll” rollerskating party, where you can lace up, dance, and drink. The nighttime crowd will be treated to beats from DJs like Griz. Dates and times vary; Tracks Night Club, 3500 Walnut Street
Celebrating Pride and getting your weekend run in isn’t an either/or situation—this annual jog can help you burn some calories and come out for a good cause. With registration, you’ll get a colorful t-shirt and goodie bag. Prizes will be awarded to the best runners (and the best costumes, if you’re not on your A-game.) And, you can jog happy knowing that proceeds of the event go to The Center on Colfax, an LGBTQ community center. June 15; 8 a.m.; Capitol Building
This singer-songwriter, choreographer, actor, and American Idol alum is taking on the big stage Sunday night to sing his hits. Hall, a frequent guest on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, will probably perform some of his soulful tunes off his 2018 release, Forbidden. Other performers include First Lady of Denver Mary Louise Lee and Yvie Oddly, who will be coming off a win of RuPaul’s Drag Race. June 15 to 16; times vary; center stage at Denver PrideFest
In its tenth year, this annual procession has a simple motto: come as you are. Born out of a sentiment that PrideFest focuses more on male perspectives, this 10-year-old march is aimed at giving a voice to lesser-heard LGBTQ people. The route will wind down Colfax Avenue, and end on the west steps of Denver’s Capitol Building. To continue the fun, check out the afterparty at the Aztlan Theatre. June 15; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Capitol Building
The diversity and coexistence of animals can teach us humans a lesson. Teacher and drag queen Shirley Delta Blow will be your guide through the colorful Denver Zoo. You’ll also enjoy sounds from DJ Aaron, and bites and brews from local food trucks. June 15; 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Denver Zoo; $10-$15
Pair your pride with a little science, and learn how the physics of flight—such as drag, thrust, and lift—really work. Although the lesson won’t be on drag queens, many members of Mile High KINGdom Drag Kings will be in attendance to help liven the learning. June 20; 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; $15
Bonus: Get there with Lyft
For an inclusive way to get to and from festivities, consider the Lyft app. The ride-share company has introduced various features as a tribute to Pride month, such as giving passengers the option to change their preferred pronoun in the Lyft app, and offering riders in the Denver area a free ride to or from the Center on Colfax or the Transgender Center of the Rockies, two LGBTQ support centers in the metro area.