Things to Do

How to Celebrate Pride 2021 in Charlotte

What’s better than a month of Pride? A year-long celebration! Here’s a schedule of events to help celebrate Pride throughout the season.

After a year of cancelled Pride parades and gatherings across the world, Charlotte Pride returns this year with a full schedule of events. It all begins in August, as Pride in Charlotte typically does, with a weekend of service, and culminates in October with the annual parade.

Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service

When: Aug. 21-22

This volunteer-based weekend is the originally scheduled date of Charlotte’s Pride festival, so organizers didn’t want this date to go unrecognized. Instead of the flashy parade, organizers encourage members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to join together in individual or group volunteer projects of all kinds. The intent is to show the city how meaningful its LGBTQ+ residents are to its continued success.

Charlotte Pride Interfaith Service

When: Sept. 12

Gather your friends of all religious and spiritual affiliations for a bit of fellowship. This annual event is a safe space for all gender identities, sexual orientations and religions. More information on the location is forthcoming. Check Charlotte Pride’s website for updates.

Charlotte Pride 2019 - Photography by Patrick Schneider

Charlotte Pride Concert

When: Sept. 17

Sashay right toward this event. Along with local musicians, artists and entertainers, this event features the Charlotte Pride Drag Pageant. Who will be crowned this year? You’ll have to attend to find out! Check Charlotte Pride’s website for updates on the event location and time.

Charlotte Pop-Up Pride

When: Sept. 18

One of the more successful elements of last year’s celebrations was the neighborhood market, so organizers decided to bring it back for an encore. Think of this as the booth portion of the annual parade festival. There will be nonprofits, small businesses and corporations with booths and products to peruse. Check Charlotte Pride’s website for updates.

Pride 2019 - Photography by Patrick Schneider

Charlotte Pride Parade

When: Oct. 24

This is the big event, the whole shebang. With Tryon Street in Uptown closed, expect hundreds of rainbow-clad parade-walkers, floats and bead-flinging. The annual festival has grown to include 200,000 participants, so expect a big crowd. The parade starts at 1 p.m., but you’ll want to arrive much before that if you want a front-row seat to the festivities.

Notable LGBTQ-Inclusive Spots

Of course, there are plenty of places to celebrate Pride in Charlotte outside these official events. Namely, supporting LGBTQ+-owned and LGBTQ+-friendly businesses help keep the queer community vibrant in Charlotte. Here are a few suggestions.

NoDa Company Store - Photography by Kyo H Nam

Hattie’s Tap and Tavern is an inclusive spot in NoDa with a no-frills atmosphere. Come as you are, enjoy a local brew and enjoy either the indoor dog-friendly space or the beautiful outdoor picnic tables. You can’t go wrong.

NoDa Company Store is a gay-owned business with, arguably, one of the city’s best and most spacious patios. On Sundays, the spot also offers free lunch (while supplies last), so come enjoy a drink, stay for lunch and support an inclusive space.

The Common Market in Plaza Midwood - Photography by Eric Gaddy

The Common Market – a mashup convenience store and deli – Snug Harbor and Petra’s are a trio of Plaza Midwood bars that also aren’t specifically gay but LGBTQ+ Charlotteans and visitors alike will find a welcoming space at both of these spots.

Elsewhere, be sure to stop by Plaza Midwood’s White Rabbit, an LGBTQ+ gift shop. You can’t miss it: It’s the fabulously painted rainbow building right on Central Avenue.

Educate

Pride is the annual celebration of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, widely considered to be the genesis of the modern-day gay rights movement.

#CharlottesGotALot

For Charlotte, it also marks an important milestone. The 2021 festival commemorates the 20th anniversary of the first official Charlotte Pride festival. While there have been celebrations, picnics and festivities dating back to the 1970s, 2001 was the city’s first official Pride festival. That’s something we can certainly celebrate.

For more information and to educate yourself on both the history of Pride in Charlotte and the work the community is doing to represent and fight for its members, visit: Charlotte Pride and Charlotte Uprising