Ten Ways to Celebrate Pride in Denver

There will be no Pride Parade down Colfax Avenue this year.
There will be no Pride Parade down Colfax Avenue this year.
Miles Chrisinger
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LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations all around the world are looking a little different this year, and Denver is no exception. With most communal spaces closed over COVID-19 and social distancing mandates, many worried that there would be no Pride; in light of recent police killings and the subsequent public outcry, some questioned whether a traditional Pride celebration would even be appropriate.

But Pride itself was born out of a riot in response to police brutality, people of color have always been an essential part of the LGBTQ rights movement, and perhaps the world could use a little joy and celebration.

The 45th official Denver PrideFest, produced by The Center on Colfax, is happening entirely online. Though going digital is pretty standard this year, a few local venues will host small, socially distant events and gatherings in person, too. In an effort to diversify the face of an often-whitewashed Pride month, several organizations are also taking this year's Pride as an opportunity to center BIPOC voices within the queer community.

From your favorite traditions to exciting new events, here are ten ways to celebrate Pride 2020 in Denver: 

Tracks will reopen its outdoor space in time for a Virtual Denver Pride Kickoff Party.
Tracks will reopen its outdoor space in time for a Virtual Denver Pride Kickoff Party.
G Photography

Official Virtual Denver Pride Kickoff Party: "Together We Rise"
Wednesday, June 17, 9 p.m. to Midnight
Streaming via Tracks Facebook Page

The official kickoff party of Denver Pride 2020, "Together We Rise" will be hosted and live-streamed by Tracks over Facebook. Tracks promises it will be an evening of "Music, drag, and artistic expression celebrating black culture and the LGBTQ roots within it". Tickets for the livestream are $10, with proceeds benefiting the Center on Colfax and a yet-to-be-announced organization supporting Black Lives Matter. Wednesday, June 17, also marks Tracks's grand reopening (just the outdoor area for now), so email info@tracksdenver.com now to book a reservation for up to eight people.

Zenon TeaVee's Pride Showcase
Friday, June 19, shows at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
The Lobby
2191 Arapahoe Street

If you simply cannot fathom celebrating Pride without leaving the house, drag queen Zenon TeaVee, aka Vivica Galactica, has an option for you. Zenon TeaVee's Pride Showcase includes drag, burlesque and other performances, live and in person at The Lobby. Each of the four performances is limited to fifty people, and attendees will be required to wear a mask when not seated at their tables. Tickets are being sold in groups by table to comply with social distancing, so you must buy at least two tickets. Each $60 ticket includes two drink tickets, an appetizer, an entree and a $5 donation to either the Transformative Freedom Fund (Thursday ticket sales) or the Black Visions Collective (Friday ticket sales).

Victor Ngo-Smith, the owner of New Cottage Arts, will host a joint LGBTQ Pride and Juneteenth celebration.EXPAND
Victor Ngo-Smith, the owner of New Cottage Arts, will host a joint LGBTQ Pride and Juneteenth celebration.
Brian Ngo-Smith

New Cottage Arts Pride and Juneteenth Celebration
Friday, June 19, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
New Cottage Arts
655 South Federal Boulevard

For little ones wanting to participate in Pride or parents interested in educating their children, local queer-owned music and arts school New Cottage Arts invites families for a day of celebration of LGBTQ Pride and Juneteenth. Under canopies set up in the parking lot, there will be rock and pebble rainbow painting, dancing, sing-a-longs and more. Attendees are welcome to bring their own materials, but New Cottage Arts will also supply each participant with a set of sanitized materials to use. Tables will be set up at an appropriate distance, and everyone must wear a mask when working in close proximity with other attendees or teachers.

Mile High Pridecast
11 a.m. Friday, June 19, to 4 a.m. Saturday, June 20
Streaming via Mile High Pridecast Facebook Page

Those of you desperately missing the dance music and pumped-up energy of circuit parties will definitely want to tune in to the Mile High Pridecast. A collective effort from several LGBTQ venues, the Pridecast will feature 25 local and national DJs broadcasting from Tracks, the Triangle, X Bar & Glow Lounge, Hamburger Mary's Denver, Trade, Gladys: the Nosy Neighbor and Charlie's Nightclub. The all-night digital concert can be streamed through the Pridecast Facebook Page, Mix Cloud or Twitch. While the live stream is totally free, the Pridecast team is also collecting donations to the LGBTQ advocacy organization One Colorado. Donations can be made through participating group the Bad Asstronauts' PayPal.

Virtual Dyke March
Saturday, June 20, 10 to 11 a.m.
Streaming via Denver PrideFest Facebook Page

The Denver Dyke March was created to break the mold of a male-centric Pride. Not sure if you qualify to participate? According to the Denver Dyke March's mission statement, "The Denver Dyke March & Rally is open to self-identified dykes, femmes, butches, queers (with cheers), studs, stems, AGs, lesbian and other feminists, tomboys, womyn of color, bi-dykes, boi-dykes, trans folks of all flavors, labia lovers, supporters of any and all types." Like all of PrideFest's official events this year, the Dyke March is going virtual, and will consist of a forty-minute video broadcast via the Denver Pride Facebook Page, as well as the Denver Dyke March's social media pages. People are encouraged to post their own pictures and videos in response to the video, with the hashtags #DDM2020, #DigitalDykeMarch, #DenverDykeMarch and #VirtualDDM.

Edgewater Pride Parade
Saturday, June 20, noon
Edgewater Civic Center

"Love wins!" That's the motto of the Edgewater Pride Parade, one of the season's only in-person festivities. Show up at noon to create decorations. The parade itself launches at 1 p.m. This is a family-friendly event, with social distancing enforced.

Pride Virtual 5K
Saturday, June 20 to Sunday, June 21
Streaming via Denver PrideFest Facebook Page
$35 for children under eighteen, $40 for those eighteen and up

While PrideFest will be broadcasting a countdown and national anthem performance at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 20, to mark the start of the Pride 5K, there is no actual group run this year. Instead, participants are welcome to complete the Pride Virtual 5K on their own time, wherever it's convenient, and submit their times independently. The race is a fundraiser to benefit the Center on Colfax, and any individual or team can register on the Denver Pride website.

Shirley Delta Blow will be one of the drag queens reading stories on Saturday, June 20.
Shirley Delta Blow will be one of the drag queens reading stories on Saturday, June 20.
Shirley Delta Blow

Drag Queen Story Time
Saturday, June 20, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 21, 1 to 1:30 p.m.
Streaming via the Denver PrideFest Facebook page

Looking for another all-ages PrideFest event? Drag Queen Story Time, happening Saturday and Sunday, is a fantastic way to introduce young children to queer culture and the queer community. First popularized in Denver as a monthly event at BookBar, Drag Queen Story Time consists of fun, family-friendly stories read by some of Denver's drag royalty. As a bonus, going digital means you don't have to worry about those pesky conservatives harassing you and your family! On Saturday, Drag Queen Story Time will be presented by the Denver Public Library-Friends Foundation and hosted by Dixie Krystals, Shirley Delta Blow and Veronica Taylor Mykels. Sunday's hosts are Dixie Krystals, Zenon TeaVee and KaiLee Mykels. Both Story Time events will be broadcast on the Denver PrideFest Facebook page.

2020 Coors Light Denver Virtual Pride Parade
Sunday, June 21, 9:30 a.m.
Streaming via the Denver PrideFest Facebook Page

The Coors Light Pride Parade is a highlight of every Denver Pride. Though no one will be marching down Colfax Avenue in rainbow attire this year, the show will go on. The Center on Colfax has asked local businesses, organizations and individuals to send in "Fun, creative, family friendly, and community minded videos", which will be live-streamed with commentary starting at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 21. Even from your couch, you'll have a prime seat right on the parade "route." Digitizing the Pride Parade also allows community members who might not be able to participate in a traditional parade to share the experience. So if you're normally deterred by crowds, long walks, hot sun and rambunctious partiers, this year might be your favorite Pride Parade yet! Visit the parade's Facebook page the morning of for information on how to watch.

Black Diamonds will feature an all-black cast.EXPAND
Black Diamonds will feature an all-black cast.
Kelela Cortez

Black Diamonds
Sunday, June 21, 5 to 6 p.m.
Streaming via Denver PrideFest Website, Facebook Page and Twitch

Last but certainly not least, Black Diamonds is a new drag show produced by legendary Denver queen Felony Misdemeanor. The show includes an all-black cast of entertainers from the Denver metro area and is meant to give a platform to drag entertainers who are often overlooked and underbooked. With the exception of some explicit language, the show is appropriate for drag fans of all ages. Black Diamonds will debut at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, streaming on the Denver PrideFest Facebook page and website, and Felony's Twitch account. Viewers will be able to tip performers using Venmo, Paypal or Cash App. X Bar, which will eventually host Black Diamonds as a live show, is also holding an in-person watch party with Felony Misdemeanor during the broadcast. Reservations are required.

Do you have an event you want included on this list? Send the details to editorial@westword.com.

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