In a time where abortion rights are seemingly coming to an end here in the United States, and the repressive forces taking them down are making clear that marriage equality and the right to privacy are next on the chopping block, wouldn’t it be nice to get at least a little bit of good news? Luckily for all of us here in Virginia who are trying to maintain our Pride through difficult times, Virginia Pride is here for us. This week, they announced Endless Summer of Pride, an initiative that begins on June 1 — the first day of Pride Month — and will continue all the way through the summer, culminating in VA Pridefest 2022, the first Pridefest since 2019!
Endless Summer of Pride will consist of over 20 events, from ceremonial commemorations of Pride Month to family-oriented celebrations and, of course, opportunities for the adults to party. The whole shindig will kick off on June 1 with a public proclamation of Pride Month at City Hall by Mayor Levar Stoney, who will also raise the Progress Pride flag over City Hall. That night, the city will also light up Main Street Station in Pride colors, in conjunction with other companies including Dominion Energy, Altria, Bank Of America, and the Hampton Inn Downtown. That night, Lewis Ginter will also be illuminating their Conservatory dome in Pride colors.
“June 1 will kick off what we expect to be the most coordinated series of observances of LGBTQ Pride Month the Richmond region has ever seen,” stated James Millner, Virginia Pride’s program director. “Nearly everywhere you turn, you’ll be reminded that it’s Pride Month. We are bringing businesses, sports and community organizations and government and cultural institutions together to send a powerful message that the LGBTQ community is welcome and celebrated here.”
There will be all sorts of other events taking place throughout June and across the entire summer, from Pride Night at The Diamond on Thursday, June 23 to the annual Love On Tap event at Hardywood and the return of the Byrd Theatre’s ever-popular series MonGays. It’s more than we can possibly get cover within the confines of this article, but you can get a complete list of events with all the details over at vapride.org/esop.
“The Endless Summer of Pride has something for everyone,” Rae Berryman, Chair of the Virginia Pride Committee, said in a statement. “We want the entire Richmond Region to join in celebrating our LGBTQ community like never before.”
Of course, the whole thing will culminate in VA Pridefest, which will return to Brown’s Island after three years away on September 24, 2022. Expect plenty of entertainment, on two different stages, as well as activities for youth and families, and plenty of food, alcohol, craft, and non-profit vendors.
“We are gearing up for what we expect will be the biggest and best Pridefest ever,” stated Millner. “We are making huge investments in the event to give the Richmond community the experience they deserve and that they’ve missed for three years.”
The full details on the 2022 VA PrideFest are still to come, but watch this space — we’ll bring all of them to you as soon as we hear of them. In the meantime, get ready for the Endless Summer of Pride: because when things are at their scariest, that’s when we most urgently need to celebrate and show our Pride.