Four Iowa communities – Ankeny, Fort Dodge, Burlington, and the deep red county of Humboldt – take center stage for the fourth weekend of Pride Month.
Each of those communities will hold their main Pride event this weekend. Meanwhile, in Illinois, Chicago holds its second big Pride weekend, with its annual parade and the two-day live music festival known as Pride in the Park Chicago.
Smaller Iowa communities shine this weekend
Two of this weekend’s Iowa Pride events are happening within a half-hour of each other.
Tonight, Humboldt (population 4,800) holds its fourth annual Humboldt County Pride celebration at the Senior Center, 607 1st Ave. The light-hearted affair features music, a raffle, games, and a shared meal.
Saturday, a half-hour to the south of Humboldt County, Fort Dodge Pride celebrates its second annual festival. The day will kick off with a parade and continue with a vendor fair, kids’ activities, and live music through the afternoon. Fort Dodge Pride is also celebrating its first year as an official nonprofit.
The festival has also announced an indoor location in case of inclement weather: The Boardroom Lounge, 1018 First Ave. N., Fort Dodge.
Just north of Des Moines, Ankeny also celebrates its second annual Ankeny Pride, with a festival, pet parade, live music and more starting at 4 p.m. Saturday.
In Eastern Iowa, Burlington along the southern Iowa/Illinois border takes its Pride festivities to a new level with not only the traditional Pride in the Park Burlington Pride at Crapo Park during the day, but also Pride: After Dark starting at 8 p.m., at OhZone.
The daytime gathering will include a vendor fair of more than 70 entities, live music, mpox vaccinations and education, and more. Join the fun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Later, OhZone the nightclub will host Alisabeth Von Presley and drag performers including drag king Chey Bois, a Burlington native who performs nationwide.
Chicago, meanwhile, expects one of its largest Chicago Pride Parades in history at noon Sunday, with new sponsor Macy’s. Wrapped around that huge tradition is the two-day Pride in the Park Chicago, featuring a dozen performers including Grammy winner Zedd and and Grammy nominee Saweetie.
Also coming soon: Pride 5k Walk/Run/Roll, Potluck, Marsha P. Johnson craft project
The Quad Cities has a busy fourth weekend of Pride Month, with four key events coming up. They include:
- a 5K walk, run and stroll Sunday, to benefit The Project of the Quad Cities. Registration will be accepted for this 8 a.m. event right up until midnight Saturday, organizers say. Cash prizes await those with a competitive spirit; otherwise, you’re welcome to join the fun early-morning exercise at whatever pace you choose.
- also Sunday, Figge Art Museum offers the last of four free queer-themed films. “Joyland,” showing 4 p.m. Sunday, tells the story of a burlesque back-up dancer who falls in love with a transgender lead performer.
- Tuesday, a Pride Potluck happens at the Clock Inc. LGBT Community Center. Bring a side for this expanded version of Clock Inc.’s monthly potluck event, held at 6 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month. The center is located at 4102 46th Ave., Rock Island.
- and Thursday night, TPQC holds its last Pride-themed event of the month: Pride Night at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, to watch the Quad Cities River Bandits semi-pro baseball team. Pride Night at the Ballpark starts at 6 p.m.; attendees will receive a free koozie for as long as supplies last.
In Iowa City, you can pay tribute to Stonewall hero Marsha P. Johnson Saturday with a DIY peyote portrait class, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Head to Beadology Iowa’s website to sign up and explore other DIY jewelry classes.
Iowa City is also home to an event that you can access wherever you are at noon Wednesday. “RoyalTea: Queens Talk About Drag” will feature an intimate Zoom conversation with three drag performers about the intersection of being transgender, adults-only drag versus all-ages, and the “intersection of drag and the law.” Panelists include Paris J Beverly Hillz, a Black trans woman and drag performer; Hazel Sanchez Belle, a longtime drag performer and title-holder; and Wilma Carstart, a camp/comedy/theatrical queen.
Looking Ahead: Benton County’s first-ever Pride, Chicago’s South Side Pride, More
Coming up next weekend, the small town of Vinton (halfway between Cedar Rapids and Waterloo/Cedar Falls) hosts the first-ever Benton County Pride celebration, featuring live music and vendors.
In Illinois, Pride South Side takes place for three days, starting June 30, providing all kinds of events geared toward Black and brown people. This fifth annual celebration happens at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, 740 E. 56th Pl., and includes the main festival from noon to 7 p.m. July 1, plus four dance events throughout the weekend.
You can also grab two film screenings Sunday afternoon, either in-person at the museum or by ordering online. The films include Thicker Than Blood, an award-winning family drama from 2019, and Dirty Laundry, a 2006 film featuring Rockmond Dunbar, Loretta Devine, and the late Maurice Jamal, considered a pioneer of portraying Black LGBTQ+ life through cinema. Find the full schedule for all three days here.
July and August will see even more Pride festivals, including events in Bolingbrook, Plainfield and Alton in Illinois; and Cedar Rapids and Waterloo/Cedar Falls in Iowa.
(cover images courtesy Pride South Side, Pride in the Park Burlington, Pride 5k Walk Run Roll. Watch the TRM calendars for Iowa Pride events, and for Illinois pride events. To add events, use our events upload form)