Charlotte’s Pride celebration is unlike any other city’s in the world.
“What sets us apart is that we’re not a big city pride or a small town pride,” says Charlotte Pride Communications Director Matt Comer. “You can come to Charlotte Pride and have a very intimate experience with your friends and family in an atmosphere that’s, in many cases, very family-friendly. But it’s also large enough that you do get the sense of coming to a grand event — without necessarily going to an event with a million people.”
This year for its 20th anniversary, Charlotte Pride weekend is now Charlotte Pride Season, which features several months of events like a parade, a concert, an interfaith service and more.
Initially devised as a way to cope with the ever-changing rules of the pandemic, Pride Season offers attendees a chance to go to several smaller events rather than one huge celebration.
“At our last in-person event we had more than 200,000 people over the course of a full weekend,” Matt says. “It was very disappointing in 2020 to cancel all our in-person programming because our annual events and programs really do mean so much to people … whether it’s a young person coming to their very first pride event, or an older person who is also coming to their very first pride event.”
P.S., wondering why Charlotte Pride kicks off in August rather than June, which is National LGBT Pride Month?
“Pride festivals in the South rarely have them in June because it’s too hot,” Matt said, adding that August worked better with the city’s schedule as well since many events take place uptown. Another perk: since we’re such a transplant city, lots of people like to head back to their hometowns or other cities like New York for an official Pride celebration in June. Then they can come back to the QC and keep the celebration going all season long.
Charlotte Pride Season kicks off this month, but even if you can’t make it to an official Pride event, there are still plenty of ways to support the LGBTQ community in the QC.
UPDATE: All official in-person Pride events have been rescheduled to October. Learn more at Charlotte Pride’s official site here.
Here’s our list of ways to show your support every weekend this month or anytime.
August 6 – 8
Hattie’s Tap & Tavern. 2918 The Plaza. This dog-friendly tavern features craft beer, pool, karaoke and a covered patio with bar games. Owner Jackie DeLoach is a member of the LGBT community and strives to cultivate a welcoming atmosphere for everyone.
Counter – . 2200 Thrift Road. A dining experience unlike any other, Counter – offers an immersive “full sensory encounter” — a reservation-only, themed 10-course tasting menu with a choice of non-alcoholic, standard or reserve wine pairings. Owner Sam Hart came together with several other local chefs and restaurant owners to promote paying workers a living wage. Make a reservation here.
White Rabbit. 920 Central Ave. White Rabbit describes itself as “THE local LGBT store for pride items.” They carry everything from dog tags to fans, flags, apparel, cards and more.
Ok, this isn’t technically a weekend event, but it’s well worth the consideration. The Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce‘s mission is to foster equity, inclusion and economic prosperity for the LGBTQ community through strategic policy, professional enrichment, ally partnerships and economic development.
CLGBTCC Wins & Woes Lunch & Learn. August 11 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at NODA Brewing, 2921 N. Tryon St. Exchange ideas and insights from seasoned and not-so-seasoned entrepreneurs and small business owners on learning through every challenge. Lunch will be provided and space is limited. Register here.
August 13 – 15
A drag brunch at The Artisan’s Palate. 1218 E. 36th St. A. Immerse yourself in this gorgeous restaurant/art gallery/cocktail bar’s “Life’s A Beach” themed drag brunch on Saturday, August 14. Tickets are $20 and proceeds benefit the Hearts Beat as One Foundation. Food and beverages (including $5 mimosas and bloody Marys) are available. Purchase tickets for the 11:30 a.m. seating here and for the 1:30 p.m. seating here.
Letty’s on Shamrock. 2121 Shamrock Drive. Whether it’s the yummy pimento cheeseburger for lunch, tasty honey pecan chicken or creole shrimp for dinner, salmon cakes or egg scramble for brunch, or any other scrumptious dishes — you’ll enjoy your meals in a friendly, comfortable setting.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte is holding a rehearsal at 7 p.m. on August 16. at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, and you could be the next member. (you don’t have to be gay, or even a man, to participate. You just need to sing tenor, baritone or bass and be willing to follow the group’s dress code.) This will be the chorus’ first indoor rehearsal in 18 months as they prepare for their holiday show which will be broadcast in December. Can’t carry a tune? Donate here.
Charlotte Independence Pride Night. August 14 at 7 p.m. at the new American Legion Memorial Stadium. Proceeds from ticket sales purchased from this link will be donated to Charlotte Pride to invest in the continued success of their programs, projects, and activities. Buy tickets here. Buy merchandise from the Charlotte Independence Pride collection here.
At Kendra Scott from 10 a.m. to noon on August 14 and mention PFLAG at the register to have 20% of your purchase donated to the organization. Sips and snacks will be served. Don’t want to go to the mall? Shop online and use code GIVEBACK-AICLI on August 14 and 15.
August 20 – 22
Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service
Charlotte Pride’s official season kickoff, the Weekend of Service is envisioned as an opportunity for the LGBTQ community and its allies to give back to the city and our neighbors after the struggles and challenges experienced through the pandemic. The three official events are:
- Farm support at the Urban Farm at Aldersgate
Saturday, August 21, from 9 a.m. to noon
Come out and support traditional and local farming to help end economic immobility and food insecurity in East Charlotte. Join Charlotte Pride at the Urban Farm at Aldersgate for a morning of farm support. The farm is managed by Deep Roots CPS Farm, a Black-owned urban farm business, and Carolina Farm Trust. Volunteers will assist in farm clean-up, mulching, and other maintenance work. This project includes non-skilled or easy-to-learn tasks and is best suited for those who are comfortable engaging in manual work outdoors. The venue is not accessible to those using mobility devices. Afterward, join other volunteers for an ice cream social!
About 30 volunteers are needed.
Sign up here.
- Statesville Ave. Clean-Up
Saturday, August 21 from 9 a.m. to noon
Join Charlotte Pride and Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful as they take to the streets — this time with rainbows and trash bags. Organizers will provide all the supplies to help the entire team clean up the stretch of Statesville Avenue between Sunset and Lakeview. You just need comfortable clothes and shoes. A traditional street clean-up is an easy and quick way to give back to the community and keep our streets and sidewalks clean for all people to enjoy. This project includes non-skilled or other easy-to-learn tasks and is best suited for those who are comfortable engaging in simple manual work outdoors. This venue and activity is not recommended for those using mobility devices or those uncomfortable around moving vehicles or loud traffic noises.
About 30 volunteers are needed.
Sign up here.
- Phone Bank for Equality
Sunday, August 22 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
*Virtual service opportunity
Join Charlotte Pride and the National Equality Action Team for a virtual, remote volunteer service opportunity where volunteers will take to the phones and call fellow North Carolina residents, educating them about the need for LGBTQ equality and urging them to contact their U.S. senators to support the Equality Act, federal legislation that would protect LGBTQ people in employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, jury service, and more. Volunteers will join organizers on Zoom for a pep rally, conversation, and fun activities in between call times. Organizers will provide the resources you need; all you have to bring is yourself and your phone. This virtual phone banking event is a perfect opportunity for those with limited travel options, those still unable to socialize in large, in-person environments, or those who simply want a way to give back from the comfort of their home.
About 15 volunteers are needed.
Sign up here.
Charlotte Pride is also inviting community organizations, faith groups, school and student groups, businesses and employee associations, and informal groups of friends to organize and host their own volunteer community service projects during the Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service. Examples of projects submitted so far include a pop-up market for transgender and gender-nonconforming community members, a sorting event for a local queer youth clothing closet, and a school supply drive.
Sidelines Sports Bar & Billiards. 4544 South Blvd. Play some pool at the Carolinas’ only LGBT sports bar.
Then dance the night away at Bar Argon (they share a building), a gay bar and video lounge which features karaoke on Thursdays, and VJs spinning dance music Fridays and Saturdays. 4544 South Blvd.
Your Custom Catering and Events. Plan an event with Nattiel Turner’s LGBTE-certified company that has not only a mouth-watering menu, but also a hands-on approach to ending hunger. During the early days of COVID, Turner partnered with Hearts Beat as One to feed children who were food insecure due to school closures in the most impoverished zip codes, as well as families of those laid off as a result of bar and restaurant closures.
NODA Company Store. 3221 Yadkin Ave. Described as a “beertanical garden, wine bar & sangriaria,” this LGBT-owned hot spot is located in the heart of the entertainment district. The store offers homemade Sangria daily as well as fresh juices and nectars for mimosas … oh, and prosecco on tap too. Relax on the swings out front while enjoying a NoDa Colada or grab a local beer on tap.
Register for a kickball, bowling, cornhole or other sports league through Stonewall Sports Charlotte, the LGBTQ+ Ally-friendly community leader in Charlotte for fun, low-impact sports and community outreach.
Charlotte Pride Clothing Drive: Brand new or gently used clothes will be accepted August 21 through Sept. 12 at a variety of LGBTQ-friendly businesses and other locations in town. Encouraged donation items include masculine clothing in smaller sizes, feminine clothing in larger sizes, and items for business/professional wear. Donors may also purchase and donate brand new, unopened packs of underwear and socks of any size, including those for children.
August 27 – 29
The Bar at 316. 316 Rensselaer Ave. The self-proclaimed “Best LGBTQ Club/Bar with the best in entertainment” in the QC, The Bar at 316has weekly karaoke, video bar, game night, drag show, pool, dancing, special entertainment & more.
Detour Coffee Bar. Mobile coffee bar; find the schedule here. This LGBT-owned full-service mobile coffee shop serves locally roasted coffee, espresso and hand-crafted beverages all over Charlotte. It was established in 2019 by a former bookstore barista with a passion for people, community, audiobooks and coffee. This month they’re featuring two ’90s throwback drinks: Destiny’s Chai and Notorious B.L.U., with a portion of proceeds benefitting Classroom Central.
Brush up on your MarioKart skills (or Dance Dance Revolution, or Dungeons & Dragons or any other game) for the Charlotte Gaymers Network official Gaymer Gathering on Sept. 3.
Founded in 2020 to help create an empowered community for all Charlotteans and unite them through gaming, the CGN hosts a monthly event that includes food, raffles, giveaways and a full open bar (!) at Tabbris Coworking, 1300 South Blvd. Suite D.
Co-Director Jonathan Barrio told us the event features three sections: video games both modern and retro, board games (think Uno and Cards Against Humanity) and tabletop games like Magic the Gathering and D&D.
The Gaymer Gathering is open to anyone, but CGN hosts members-only events too. Become a member here.
Johnathan also told us the CGN will host team-building events where they bring all consoles, equipment, etc. to your chosen venue. Learn more here.
PFLAG’s Virtual workshop for parents and caregivers of newly out LGBTQ youth. 7 p.m. Monday, August 30. Led by PFLAG Charlotte with guest speaker Dr. Benjamin Simmons of Atrium Health. Find out more details and register here.
Ruby Sunshine Brunch‘s Pride Takes Flight mimosa flight is here a little bit longer, so grab yours before it’s too late! 332 W. Bland St. $1 from every flight sold will be donated to local LGBTQ+ organizations.
Charlotte Pride Festival and Concert
Now Saturday, October 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
AvidXchange Music Factory Festival Grounds
819 Hamilton Street, Charlotte.
Admission will be free, with VIP options.
The festival will include vendors and activities. A full entertainment lineup will be announced soon.
The Charlotte Pride Drag Pageant will also take place at the festival.
The Charlotte Pride Pageant is a gender-inclusive drag pageant for contestants who believe in the power and importance of community service. The pageant winners are more than titleholders — they live and breathe the spirit of Pride. They envision a world in which all LGBTQ people are affirmed, respected, and included, free from any discrimination, rejection, or prejudice. They commit their volunteer work, time, and energy to the Charlotte Pride mission to enrich, empower, strengthen, and make more visible the lives and experiences of LGBTQ people in Charlotte and the Carolinas.
This year’s Charlotte Pride Pageant has been reimagined in line with the group’s commitment toward intentional inclusion and visibility. This year the pageant has combined previously separate and gendered pageant contests, with each titled contest this year open to all performers regardless of gender. Up to three winners will be selected; together, Mx. Charlotte Pride, Ms. Charlotte Pride, and Mr. Charlotte Pride will serve as the Charlotte Pride Court.
All season long
You can support the LGBTQ community all year round by donating to these organizations:
Know any other LGBTQ-owned or supportive businesses or organizations we missed? Tell us in the comments; please and thank you.
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