Fifteen Ways to Celebrate Queer Pride in Denver

A drawing of Hanzon and Wellman's Shrine to Humanity.
A drawing of Hanzon and Wellman's Shrine to Humanity. Courtesy Lonnie Hanzon
Pride weekend is here, Denver: Time to bust out your best rainbow gear, celebrate the LGBTQ community, dance, revel and march for equal rights. Here are fifteen ways to celebrate Pride in the Mile High this year, in chronological order, ranging from official PrideFest happenings to a slew of dance parties to a Monday recovery barbecue.

Pride Night With the Colorado Rockies
Friday, June 16, 6:40 p.m.
Coors Field
2001 Blake Street

One Colorado, SB Nation and Outsports are hosting LBGTQ Pride Night at Coors Field, where the Colorado Rockies will take on the San Francisco Giants. Use promo code PRIDE for discounted tickets at Ticketmaster; portions of the proceeds go to One Colorado.

The Official Queer Party
June 16, 9:30 p.m.
Blush & Blu Denver
1526 East Colfax Avenue

This party celebrates "the QUEER community – non-binary, transgender, nonconforming humans and everyone in between and beyond." Look for a DJ and drink specials. This party has no cover.

click to enlarge KEN HAMBLIN
Ken Hamblin
Mile High Party Weekend
June 16-17
City Hall Venue
1144 Broadway

This two-night party kicks off on Friday with headliner Mya, and includes DJs and other entertainers. Tickets, which are available on the party's website, get you access to additional drink and hotel specials. You can also pick up a combo pass that gets you access to these festivities plus the Pink Party, an open bar club night hosted by One Colorado at Tracks.

Tracks Denver: Various Events
June 16-17
3500 Walnut Street

Tracks is hosting three days' worth of events this Pride weekend: The RiNo club gets the weekend rolling with its Pride Launch party on Thursday; Friday brings Drag Nation: Cosmic Queens, a drag show, and Stargayzer, the official women's Pride party; and Voyager 17 featuring Leann Rimes closes out the lineup on Saturday. Find more information about each event and purchase your tickets via the Tracks website.

X Bar: Various Events
June 16-18

629 East Colfax Avenue
X Bar has a packed lineup for the weekend, including a lip-sync and black-light-graffiti party on Thursday night, a pink-flamingo-glitter and parade party all day Sunday (starting at 7 a.m.) and a wet underwear shower contest on Sunday night. Check out X Bar's website for the full schedule.

click to enlarge KEN HAMBLIN
Ken Hamblin
Trade: Various Events
June 16-18
475 Santa Fe Drive

Trade kicks off Pride weekend with a special edition of its weekly Skivvy Stripdown, an underwear party. Other events include Champagne and beer busts, and Pride Bingo. Head to the bar's Facebook page for a full rundown.

Charlie's Denver: Various Events
June 16-18
900 East Colfax Avenue

Charlie's starts and finishes Pride weekend with a slip 'n slide pool party, offering water-balloon fights, a Speedo auction and plenty of dancing in between. Head to Charlie's website for the full lineup and to purchase tickets.

Denver Wrangler: Various Events
June 16-18
3090 Downing Street

Denver Wrangler's Pride weekend culminates in its annual Pride Beer Bust, a four-hour party fueled by plenty of beer and music. Before that, the bear bar is hosting a two-step night and the Pride Retro Sweet, a costume party blasting tunes from the '80s and '90s. See the Wrangler's website for more information.

click to enlarge KEN HAMBLIN
Ken Hamblin
Denver Dyke March
Saturday, June 17, 1 p.m.
Blush & Blu Denver
1526 East Colfax Avenue

This march was organized to confront what some women see as PrideFest's male-centric vibe. Marchers should rally at Blush & Blu where there will be entertainment; the march starts from there at 3 p.m.

Sober Pride Dance
Saturday, June 17, 7-11 p.m.
Phoenix Multisport
2233 Champa Street

Phoenix Multisport supports individuals recovering from addiction and substance abuse problems by fostering a physically active community. This weekend's sober dance party features tunes from DJ Chi Chi LaRue and is free to attend.

Big Gay 5K
Saturday, June 17, 10 a.m.
Civic Center Park
Before PrideFest gets underway, runners (and walkers) can get their blood pumping at the Big Gay 5K, a race that begins and ends at Civic Center Park. The race is open to all ages, all abilities and all sexual orientations. Just be sure to register in advance.

Read on for more Pride events this weekend.
click to enlarge A drawing of Hanzon and Wellman's Shrine to Humanity. - COURTESY LONNIE HANZON
A drawing of Hanzon and Wellman's Shrine to Humanity.
Courtesy Lonnie Hanzon
June 17-18
Civic Center Park

PrideFest is organized by the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, and is the group's largest fundraiser. This year's festival is projected to draw more than 350,000 people, and features 200 vendors, a number of events, a political rally, and, of course, the parade. Performers at the festival include Chad Michael from RuPaul's Drag Race (Saturday at 3 p.m.) and Jennifer Holliday (Sunday at 3 p.m.), and dancers should head to Smirnoff Dance World for a lineup of DJs. Don't miss the "Shrine to Humanity," an art installation from Lonnie Hanzon and Paulo Wellman that celebrates the human spirit and Gilbert Baker, the designer of the rainbow flag, who passed away earlier this year. The work encompasses five shrine structures, more than 200 prayer flags, and four contemplation benches. Hanzon also has a piece on display inside the McNichols Building titled "An Illumination of Toward a Global Ethic," a document from the December 1999 meeting of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions that attempted to establish a shared ethical framework for all peoples across religious lines. Also at the McNichols building: panels of the AIDS memorial quilt. Find schedules and more event information at the GLBT Community Center website.

Coors Light PrideFest Parade
Sunday, June 18, 9:30 a.m.

This parade, say organizers, is the biggest PrideFest parade ever, and features floats and costumes from a number of LGBTQ groups and allies. It begins at Cheesman Park at 9:30 a.m. and ends at the Capitol. Don't miss the debut of CHEER Colorado, who will be bucketing donations and giving them to the GLBT Community Center, and keep an eye out for Dillon Jaymes and Trent Hall, who plan to tie the knot atop a float. Find the parade route on the event's website.
click to enlarge KEN HAMBLIN
Ken Hamblin
Pride Rally for Equality
Sunday, June 18, 11:30 a.m.
State Capitol Building
200 East Colfax Avenue

Immediately after the parade, the Pride Rally for Equality will convene on the steps of the Capitol, bringing together One Colorado, the Colorado LGBT Legislative Caucus, March On Colorado, state leaders, activists and community groups from throughout the state to rally for LGBTQ equality.

click to enlarge KEN HAMBLIN
Ken Hamblin
Pride Recovery Monday Backyard BBQ
Monday, June 19, 2 p.m.
Mile High Hamburger Mary's
1336 East 17th Avenue
The new City Park West location of Hamburger Mary's is graciously providing a way to soothe your inevitable Pride hangover with a Monday backyard barbecue. Look for drink specials, lawn games, and a DJ spinning tunes.
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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk