Memphis Pride Fest back in person for first time since 2019

Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For the first time since 2019, Memphis Pride Fest weekend is back in person. Festival organizers are expecting about 50,000 people in Downtown Memphis to celebrate the LGBTQ community.

It’s been gray for some since the pandemic began.

“Come toward the rainbows. We’re here,” Memphis Pride Assistant Director Jennifer Murry-Rodley “Virtual was great and it kept us safe but we’re ready to get out and be loud and proud.”

The first weekend of Pride Month in the Mid-South is set aside for a slew of events. The headliner is Memphis Pride Fest on Saturday. The festivities kicked on Thursday with Drag n Drive, a movie and a drag show.

“I love our community so it’s great to be in the thick of it,” Cyndelle Noel who describes herself as a LGBTQ ally said.

On Friday, set up for Memphis Pride Fest was underway at Robert Church Park. Memphis Pride Director Vanessa Rodley said it will cost one dollar to go to the festival, and security will be increased. The star of the day is the afternoon Pride Parade starting at Fourth and Beale at 1:00 p.m.

“There’s going to be 50,000 people Downtown who are all about love, equality, safety,” Rodley said.

Memphis Pride Fest organizers said Pride Month is about celebration, but here in the Mid-South they say it’s a reminder to everyone you can live your authentic life anywhere.

“Classically it’s an area that’s not open-minded or people think it is but we want people to know we’re here, you’re loved, you’re accepted, you won’t be shunned,” Murry-Rodley said.

While these Pride events will continue all month long, the true meaning of pride is year round.

“It’s a warm feeling and a strong connection,” Noel said.

Saturday’s Memphis Pride Fest runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday the Big Gay Dance Party starts at 8:00 at Crosstown Theater. You’re encouraged to buy tickets online for all the weekend’s events.

Click here for more on Memphis Pride weekend activities.

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