It’s going to be better than ever.
by Barrett White
Photo by Dalton DeHart
Houston is gearing up for a Pride Week celebration that promises to be bigger and better than ever. From June 20 through June 29, the city is going to be alive with thousands of voices celebrating the past year’s dramatic progress with LGBT civil rights.
To kick off the festivities on the evening of Friday, June 20, Pride Houstonhosts “Eden: A Girl Party” at Pearl Bar, a celebration of LGBT women. Proceeds from the $5 cover charge benefit a women-focused nonprofit group. Though this is a female-oriented celebration, folks from across the gender spectrum are invited out to Pearl Bar to celebrate the strong women of Houston’s LGBT community.
Another highlight of this 10-day celebration is “Pride Unleashed” (a leather and fetish party) on June 21, from 9 p.m. until midnight. Attendees are encouraged to wear their finest “gear” to the event at XL Houston—but as the Pride Houston website suggests, “Keep it classy, everyone!”
June in Houston is notorious for humid and hot afternoons, so why not show your pride and cool off at a pool party with like-minded individuals? Step on over to HI-Houston: The Morty Rich Hostel on June 22 for “Salvation: A Pride Pool Party,” complete with open bar and the invitation to “wash away your sins of the past and ones yet to come!” A portion of the $25 cover goes toward keeping the Pride Festival free to the public.
After having a ball at Salvation, clear your Tuesday social calendar and head to South Beach on June 24 for the annual “Rock the Runway” evening, where Houston’s hottest models showcase the newest summer trends in “underwear, swimwear, and everything to wear on top.” Admission is free and open to the public, with lots of free giveaways, as always.
Kicking off Pride Week’s final weekend is Houston’s only LGBT circuit party, “Wonderland Houston,” on Friday, June 27, at a new venue. This 18+ party at South Beach (which sports brand-new sound and lighting systems) transports partygoers with confetti, lasers, fog, and even snow. All proceeds from this event go to Bunnies on the Bayou, the preeminent annual Easter event benefitting Houston’s LGBT organizations.
Wonderland is followed by the iconic Pride Festival and Parade on Saturday, June 28, and the final Pride event is “Rapture: A Pride Foam Party” at South Beach on Sunday, June 29.
The Saturday Pride Festival involves 200 vendors and exhibitors, and a crowd of 65,000 along Westheimer at Commonwealth and Yoakum. Come out and see the Walgreens Health & Wellness Pavilion, the Houston Dynamo Family Fun Zone, the Houston LGBT History Exhibit, and a cast of musical performers including past and present Pride Superstar contestants. Admission to the festival is free, but donations are accepted at the information booths located at the festival entrances.
The 2014 Pride Parade begins on Saturday, June 28, at 8:15 p.m. along Westheimer, between Dunlavy and Montrose Blvd. The parade features about 100 organizations and businesses supporting the LGBT community, and is Houston’s second-largest annual parade. There is a parade pre-show starting at 7:30 at Westheimer and Waugh.
“The teams of volunteers have been working hard for over a year and a half to produce the fourth-largest Pride celebration in the U.S., and we hope to beat 2013’s estimated attendance of 400,000,” Frankie Quijano, president and CEO of Pride Houston, says. “[We’re] having a live broadcast of the parade on public access channels for those who are unable to come to the parade due to the heat or because they haven’t come out yet.”
Keep in mind, Houston—these are just a few of the Pride Week events, so see OutSmart’s complete Pride calendar by clicking here. Visit pridehouston.org/event/pride-week for more information on official events, as well as a Houston travel guide for out-of-towners planning to visit during Pride Week.