Quad Cities Pride Fest June 3-4 kicks off 12 Pride Month events

Quad Cities PrideFest

ROCK ISLAND — With a new location for both its summer festival and its parade, the Quad Cities is gearing up for its first full-fledged LGBTQ+ Pride month in two years, with more than 12 events planned throughout June.

The first one is the biggest one: Quad Cities Pride Festival happens June 3 and 4 at Rock Island’s riverfront Schwiebert Park. The new location means a fully-equipped professional stage with lighting for performers that include rocker Alisabeth Von Presley of Cedar Rapids; the five-piece Chicagoland band Invisible Cartoons; the Quad Cities party band Corporate Rock; Fire in the Sky fire performance group; drag performers galore including host Ginger F. Snaps; and burlesque performances by Mary Quite Contrary’s House of Burlesque, Manscape Burlesque and Bottoms Up Burlesque.

The new park location also means grassy areas for people to spread out blankets, lawn chairs and sun umbrellas, and playground equipment for families with children. A general schedule of performers for the two-day event is listed at the end of this article

Invisible Cartoons Blocks edited
Invisible Cartoons from the Chicago area are among the performers at Quad Cities Pride Fest June 3 and 4.

Admission for the festival this year is $12 for the two-day event, which is $3 less than the festival used to charge. A one-day pass is $7. Vendor organizer Jane Tiedge says 58 total vendors, more than in any year, and many first-time participants. For more information, see the website at www.quadcitiespridefestivals.com.

The Schwiebert Park event is one of two Pride festivals held each year by the private Quad Cities Pride Festivals, run by Andrew Glasscock. A fall event also takes place in September and will happen at LeClaire Park in Davenport. Glasscock said in December that moving the summer event to Rock Island is part of an effort to draw a greater variety of attendees to the festival, and to showcase Rock Island’s standout riverfront park.

Schwiebert Park, at 101 17th St., is less than a mile from Davenport’s two LGBTQ+ nightclubs, Mary’s on 2nd and Varieties Nightclub, which are located just across the Centennial Bridge. Parking for the June 3 and 4 festival can be found throughout downtown Rock Island, within a few blocks of the park. Downtown Rock Island’s Holiday Inn at 226 17th St. s also offering a special Pride rate; call 309-794-1212 to reserve your spot.

Volunteers are encouraged to sign up by emailing Andrew Glasscock at [email protected].

QC Unity Pride Parade also has new Moline location

Pride in the Quad Cities continues throughout June with another six events, including the annual QC Unity Pride Parade and Pride at Bass Landing June 18. The parade is coordinated by the nonprofit QC Unity Pride, while Pride at Bass Street Landing is hosted by The Project of the Quad Cities.

This year’s parade is happening in downtown Moline for the first time ever and starts at 3:30 p.m., just before the Bass Street party in the evening. You have until June 5 to sign up to participate in the parade, which is held each year to “show pride and unity within the LGBTQ+ community,” said parade president Te LeShoure. “The pandemic has made life extremely difficult for LGBTQ+ people, enhancing feelings of isolation and loneliness,” she said. “We hope that everyone comes out and enjoys being together.”

Pride at Bass Street Landing happening again

Pride at Bass Landing, a new annual Pride event first held last year, takes place the evening of June 18, right after the parade. Happening for the second consecutive year, Pride at Bass Landing starts with a youth drag show at 5 p.m., then continues with live music by Been There Done That. at 9 p.m., Candi Stratton will emcee a drag show featuring Chasen El-Lewis, Dominique Zaire, Frank El Lee Overit, Izzy James, Lyrica Simone, and Sinclaire Snaps.

More Pride Month events include movies, bingo, pride run and more

In addition to the three events, here are the other Pride-themed events happening in the Quad Cities through June:

  • “How to Survive a Plague” at Figge Art Museum: This showing at 4 p.m. Sun., June 5, is the first of three Pride movie viewings at Figge, 225 W. 2nd St., in Davenport, in collaboration with QC Unity Pride. This film documents the AIDS/HIV activist group ACT UP in the 10 years that preceded the groundbreaking release of protease inhibitor therapy for people with AIDS/HIV in 1996. 
  • Pride 4k Run/Walk/Roll: Also hosted by The Project of the Quad Cities, this June 12 event happens for the first time ever this year and is open to anyone, including people who use wheelchairs. It’s the first Pride run in the area, and team registrations will help fund TPQC’s work fighting HIV, AIDS and STDs throughout 40 counties in Illlinois and Iowa. Register at getregistered.com/pride5k right up until the morning of the event (earlier if possible).
  • “Rafiki” at Figge Museum: Showing 4 p.m. June 12, “Rafiki” was originally banned in its home country of Kenya but went on to be the country’s nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Proud Mic Open Mic: This first-time event by QC Pride takes place 5 to 7 p.m. June 12 and features spoken word, and food by Mexican Soul. It takes place at Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities, 2930 W. Locust St., Davenport.
  • Pride Night with the River Bandits: Happening June 16, this annual event by TPQC offers a chance for LGBTQ+ people to celebrate Pride along with other baseball fans at Modern Woodmen Park, 209 S. Gaines St., Davenport. Learn more at riverbandits.com; be sure to enter the promo code PRIDE for your discounted ticket.
  • Youth Drag Workshop: Starting at 11 a.m. June 18, this workshop is hosted by Clock Inc. LGBTQ+ Community Center in Rock Island and will culminate in a performance at 4:30 p.m., to help kick off Pride at Bass Landing. Register at clockinc.org.
  • “God’s Own Country” at Figge Museum: The third and final movie in Figge’s Pride series takes place 4 p.m. June 19 and tells the story of a love affair between a British farmer and Romanian migrant worker.
  • Covered in Pride: Taking place after Pride at Bass Landing June 18, this comedy and burlesque show is another fundraiser for Clock Inc. and start at 8 p.m. at Blue Cat Brewing, 113 18th St., Rock Island.
  • Pride Bingo: This Pride-themed night of games June 20 will help raise money for Clock Inc. and starts at the Raccoon Motel, 315 E. 2nd St., in Davenport at 6 p.m.

Here’s a quick summary of the Quad Cities Pride Fest schedule

Fri., June 3

  • 4:30 p.m. Drag Show
  • 6 p.m. Corporate Rock
  • 8 p.m. Drag show featuring Heidi N. Closet of RuPaul’s Drag Race and more
  • 10 p.m. Fire in the Sky fire performance group
  • 10:30 p.m. Mary Quite Contrary’s House of Burlesque
  • 11 p.m. Manscape Burlesque
  • 11:30 p.m. Bottoms Up Burlesque

Sat., June 4

  • 2:30 p.m. Invisible Cartoons
  • 4:30 p.m. Kings Drag show
  • 5:30 p.m. Alisabeth Von Presley
  • 8 p.m. Drag show featuring Kennedy Davenport of RuPaul’s Drag Race and more
  • 9:30 p.m. Fire in the Sky fire performance group
  • 10 p.m. Bottoms Up Burlesque
  • 10:30 Manscape Burlesque
  • 11 p.m. Mary Quite Contrary’s House of Burlesque

Find more information at Quad Cities Pride Festivals’ website, or at its Facebook page.

(cover photo features Schwiebert Park in Rock Island, site of Quad Cities Pride June 3 and 4; Alyssa Von Pressley and band; and host Ginger F. Snaps.

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