Category: 2023

Capital City Pride in Iowa, plus six Illinois Pride fests from Galena to Carbondale, for second weekend of Pride Month

The second big weekend of Pride Season 2023 includes almost two dozen events, including big festivals in Des Moines, Ia., and at least seven Illinois communities.

Carbondale, Elk Grove, Galena, Geneva, Kewanee and Mount Carmel are all holding their big Pride events.

And you can find another dozen Pride-related things to do all across both states, ranging from film, to picnics, to concerts, crafts and more. Plus, take a look ahead at what’s coming next week and weekend.

Check out The Real Mainstream’s round-up of Weekend 2 for Pride Season 2023 in Illinois and Iowa.

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Pride Season 2023 kicks off in Iowa, Illinois with seven festivals, 15 related events, two film series

It can be overwhelming, with almost 100 Pride season events happening this year throughout Illinois and Iowa alone.

We can help. This is the first of our weekly Pride season updates through June, summarizing the big Pride Fests coming up, the smaller Pride events also happening soon, and info on how to register for even more Pride stuff.

We’re starting with this weekend’s Pride Month kick-off, starting with Pride Fests in Dubuque, Ottumwa and Sioux City in Iowa; Elgin, Niles and Rockford in Illinois; and the Quad Cities in both states.

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Mount Vernon strives for unity with first-ever official LGBTQ Pride event Saturday

MOUNT VERNON, IL — Alexia Stallons and her colleagues have been working to strengthen a sense of LGBTQ+ pride in Mount Vernon for two years. Saturday, they’ll invite the community to join them in a family-friendly picnic and celebration.

It’s the first official Pride gathering for this southern Illinois town of about 15,000. You’ll find about 50 vendors, games galore, music and more.

The event is coordinated by OUT Mt Vernon, which Stallons says is focused on creating more “outreach, understanding and togetherness.”

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Free NOH8 photos for first 200 people at June 1 event in Davenport

DAVENPORT, IA — Iowa’s only chance to join a NOH8 photo shoot this year also offers a chance to do it for free.

That’s what One Human Family QCA is offering June 1 in Davenport. The first 200 people to show up for the photo shoot will receive their digital print free, a gesture that usually costs $25 to $40.

Since 2010, almost 67,000 people have participated in the NOH8 campaign, which started to stand up for marriage equality and now stands up against policies and laws worldwide that are built on one group oppressing another.

Read about the June 1 photo shoot, plus two more chances to join the NOH8 campaign in Illinois.

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Quad Cities Pride Month features 23 events in Davenport, Moline, Rock Island and keeps growing

QUAD CITIES — All throughout the Quad Cities, it’s a Pride season like never before, with 20 events currently scheduled and more coming almost daily.

Quad Citians can go to two annual festivals, four different meal events, and night of games, sports, movement, education, art and more.

You’ll find all the info you need here to participate — including dates, links, deadlines, links to sign up or register, and some fun background even. Check it out!

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Iowa drag legend Ruby James Knight looks back on her path-paving 30-year career

WATERLOO — Ruby James Knight, an Iowa drag legend for 30 years, is “resting comfortably and in his final hours,” announced Kings and Queens Club owner John Hayes earlier today after rumors spread that the 72-year-old icon had passed.

Knight (Jim Raymond in real life) took time about two months ago, before his illness took another severe turn, to talk with The Real Mainstream about his career, and how he credits Ruby James Knight, her style and generosity, and her fellow queens, with transforming his life.

Enjoy as Ruby James Knight, whose name became nearly synonymous with Kings and Queens, takes a look back. You’ll also find a photo album featuring some of Knight’s favorite looks over the years.

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Religious ethics expert to explore deeper meanings of happiness, “god,” in free symposium

The key to finding happiness in a difficult world also involves reconstructing “god.”

That’s one of the premises Dr. Diana Cates will share during her presentation Saturday as part of “Finding Happiness in a Difficult World.” The free symposium is offered by One Human Family QCA, a Davenport-based nonprofit that focuses on educating people about how to report hate crimes and incidents and how to fight hate.

Saturday’s symposium at Scott Community College-Urban Campus in Davenport starts at 9 a.m., though Cates’ presentation isn’t until 11 a.m. Read more about it here.

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Pride walk/runs in Des Moines, Moline, Niles, Tuscola fill LGBTQ communities’ need for family-friendly, healthy activities

It’s time to start walking, running, and rolling for Pride, with at least five Pride-themed 5Ks coming up in the next six weeks across Illinois and Iowa.

They all start tomorrow with the Southern Illinois Pride K Fun Walk and Run. You can join in person or virtually.

More Pride walk and run events are also coming in Niles outside of Chicago June 3; Tuscola, Ill., and Des Moines, Ia., June 10; and Moline in the Quad Cities June 25.

Read about why these events are extra important to the LGBTQ community — and especially this year.

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Quad Cities’ only LGBTQ bar, Mary’s on 2nd, turns to community as Mississippi River waters rise

DAVENPORT — Dozens of volunteers are turning out daily to help build a sandbag barrier for Mary’s on 2nd, the Quad Cities’ only LGBTQ bar.

The crew are applying lessons learned from four years ago, when burst temporary levees sent Mississippi River water flowing throughout downtown Davenport and caused Mary’s on 2nd to close for three weeks.

Owner Bobby Stansberry is touched and inspired by the outpouring of support. Read about the effort here, and also what’s behind this year’s flood concerns.

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