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Pride Houston Announces 2021 Celebration Plans

This year’s event is downsizing due to Harris County’s COVID-19 alerts.

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Pride Houston, the organization that puts together Space City’s LGBTQ celebration each summer, has announced that this year’s event will be an October 2 block party in Montrose. 

The group’s 2021 festivities were originally set to include a parade in late September, but those plans have changed due to a spike in local COVID-19 infections,  Pride Houston’s president, Thasia Madison, said in a July 26 statement.

“We were looking forward to bringing back the parade this year, since some COVID restrictions have been relaxed. But as new COVID infections are rising [in addition to] the presence of the Delta variant [in Houston], we think it would be more prudent to host a smaller-capacity event,” Madison said. 

The gayborhood block party will have a capacity limit of 5,000 attendees. The group’s last parade in 2019 drew in a crowd of nearly 700,000 people to the streets of downtown Houston.

Organization leaders made a similar cancellation announcement during Pride Houston’s Kick-Off + Theme Reveal Party at BUDDY’S Houston on July 25. The leaders explained that the City of Houston granted them a permit to host a September parade, but that they chose to cancel after City officials advised against it. 

Susan Christian, director of the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Special Events, informed OutSmart that her team did not make this call.

“The City of Houston has not advised Pride to cancel their event, nor were we privy to the cancellation,” Christian said. “However, we support whatever decision the organization makes to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.”  

Pride Houston has since clarified that the move was an internal decision made in response to concerns expressed by elected officials, health agencies, and other community members.

“It was our decision to postpone the parade until 2022,” Madison said. “We love our community and want to keep it safe. We have organized several upcoming events and will follow COVID precautions. We even have a vaccination drive scheduled. We are doing our part to help Houston and Harris County combat the Delta variant.” 

The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 (more commonly known as COVID-19) is the most contagious form of the disease, according to the latest study by Virological. It spreads about two to three times faster than the original version of the virus, and it’s currently dominating the outbreak in the United States. More than 80 percent of COVID cases have been linked to the Delta variant. 

Scientists say the best way to prevent catching the disease is by getting vaccinated. However, less than 50 percent of Harris County residents are fully vaccinated. 

In addition to Pride Houston’s October 2 block party in Montrose, the organization will host several 2021 festivities with a capacity of 5,000 attendees or less. These events include: 

  • Saturday, Aug. 28 – Baewatch x Salvation, the largest LGBTQIA+ pool party in Texas, at Clé
  • Sunday, Sept. 5 – Grand Marshal Reception at Neon Boots
  • Friday, Sept. 10 – Rumba Latin Night with Pride at Neon Boots
  • Saturday, Sept. 18 – Pride in the Country – Country and Western Night at Neon Boots
  • Saturday, Sept. 25 – Eden (Houston’s largest all-girl party, but guys are welcome, too) at Neon Boots
  • Saturday, Oct. 2 Pride in Montrose – Concert & Block Party
  • Monday, Oct. 11 – Rock the Runway, Fashion Show on National Coming Out Day, benefiting our Heritage Scholarship Program, at The Ballroom at Bayou Place
  • Saturday, Oct. 16 – Rights Are Human – our human-rights conference to address inequities and issues such as immigration, trans rights legislation, veterans rights, etc.
  • Saturday, Oct. 23 – Reel Pride, LGBTQIA+ Film Festival at the University of Houston Downtown

For more information on Pride Houston, visit pridehouston.org.

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