In only a few short hours, PrideFest Milwaukee, the “most dynamic pride festival, featuring the largest LGBT music showcase in North America” will officially commence. It’s such a big deal, Google changed their search results page to include a custom border. I couldn’t be more proud.
A longstanding tradition among Milwaukee’s sizable LGBT community, PrideFest is entering into its 28th year. Taking place on Summerfest grounds with a fully volunteer-based crew, this year’s PrideFest marks a few special occasions: This is the first year where gay marriage in Wisconsin is legally recognized for every day of the festival (as opposed to that debacle in the courts during last year’s PrideFest between U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb and WI Attorney General JB Van Hollen); in addition, it comes hot on the heels of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 7, in which Milwaukee-based drag queen Trixie Mattel (who I met through Rocky Horror, once upon a time) was seen as a fan favorite throughout the season, even being eliminated not once, but twice, largely by technicality. (She still should’ve won.) The plastic queen herself will be serving as an emcee of sorts, playing host all three days to Trixie Mattel’s Funhouse, a VIP-only meet-and-greet establishment within the festival, serving food, drinks, and snacks, and providing music and lots of shade.
The event takes place from 3pm to midnight on Friday, noon to midnight on Saturday, and noon to 10pm on Sunday (with the Dance Pavilion closing at midnight). Tickets start from $16 at the gates for 1-day admission (tickets were $13 by online order, but that’s closed already), and go up to $100 for 3-day exclusive VIP access. (I’d post more about this, but as of writing this they TOOK DOWN THE PRICES FROM THEIR WEBSITE!)
In addition to the festival, on Sunday, June 7th at 2:00pm, there will be the Milwaukee Pride Parade, traveling from 2nd and Lapham in Walker’s Point up to 2nd and Oregon. (Note: The festival and the parade are not legally affiliated with one another, but they coincide on the same weekend every year.) I will be walking in the Pride Parade with the cast of Sensual Daydreams (Milwaukee’s Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast), and I’ll be attending PrideFest in Riff Raff attire afterwards, rain or shine. (Sydney will probably be there as well, though she’s recovering from having gotten all four of her wisdom teeth removed on June 4th.)
There will be festival food (good festival food, actually) available at PrideFest; I plan on availing myself to it, and reporting back to you readers on the festival, the parade, the food, and the whole crazy mess every year inevitably turns out to be.