Charlotte Pride, a local non-profit organization which creates programs and activities to enrich, empower, strengthen and make visible the unique lives and experiences of LGBTQ people in Charlotte and the Carolinas, will host its annual Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade, Aug. 20-21, 2016, in Uptown Charlotte. Activities will include a variety of events, including a two-day festival in the PNC Bank Festival Zone, the Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade on Aug. 21 and two days of local, regional and national entertainment on the Wells Fargo Stage.
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who has been instrumental in advocating for local LGBTQ non-discrimination protections and against the anti-LGBTQ House Bill 2, will open the weekend’s festivities during an opening ceremony featuring the presentation of the colors, national anthem and a special tribute to victims of the Pulse Orlando terrorist attack. The opening ceremony is slated for Saturday, Aug. 20, 12:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Stage, S. Tryon and Stonewall Sts. Mayor Roberts has also been awarded Charlotte Pride’s Outstanding Ally Award and will serve as this year’s parade grand marshal. She will be joined in the opening ceremony by North Carolina House Rep. Chris Sgro (Guilford), the state’s only openly LGBTQ member of the General Assembly.
The Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade attracted over 120,000 visitors over the course of its weekend event in 2015. Out-of-town visitors accounted for nearly 20 percent of the events attendance, creating $11.9 million in local economic impact, $7.2 million in direct visitor spending and generating nearly $500,000 in Mecklenburg County taxes, according to a 2015 economic impact report conducted by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
Weekend activities include a two-day PNC Bank Festival Zone with nearly 200 vendors representing community non-profits, small businesses and corporate sponsors, two days of stage entertainment and the annual Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade. Charlotte Pride has expanded several activities including a Family Zone and Youth Zone.
Headlining the Wells Fargo Stage this year is chart-topping and award-winning R&B singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and television personality K. Michelle, who will be joined by pop singer Eden xo, hit dance artist Vassy, RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Adore Delano, Shangela and Jujubee, Americana/Folk quartet Dust and Ashes, openly gay Christian Rock singer Trey Pearson of Everyday Sunday and more.