Five Small City Pride Events That Prove Awesome Happens In All Sizes

Last week the Starkville, Mississippi, board of aldermen voted to reject an application for the town’s first Pride parade, prompting an outcry among local residents and spurring on a lawsuit from the organizers.

Even though large cities have been holding Pride in one form or another since 1969, the emergence of events in smaller communities over the past few decades has gone a long way to improve LGBT visibility across all corners of the country.

To champion the efforts made by more modestly-sized communities (and, to show the alderman of Starkville, Mississippi, that inclusion can be a wonderful thing for the area), here are five small U.S. cities that embrace LGBT Pride:

  1. Charlotte County Pride

    Punta Gorda, Florida

    Population: 18,796

    Dates: January 20, 2018

    Although this year’s event has come and gone, we already can’t wait for next year’s fun-filled day of Pride, food, drink, and live entertainment like performances by Steven Andrade as Cher, Alyssa Lemay, Spikey Van Dykey, Fairyana Belle, Drag Clyo, Tony Tesla, Harlett O’ Scara, and China Deloves, who all appeared at this year’s event.

  2. Joseph Large

    Breckenridge, Colorado

    Population: 4,479

    Dates: March 7–11, 2018

    If you already miss the sight of sexy, snowbound athletes, Gus Kenworthy’s bruised peach, or Johnny Weir’s mile-high hair then wintry Breck Pride, hosted by Breckenridge Ski Resort and the Breckenridge Tourism Office, would probably appeal to you.

    Back for its second year, the festival is jam packed with live music, daily après ski parties, a costumed Color Run down the mountain, and much more.

  3. Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center

    New Paltz, New York

    Population (2016): 7,046

    Date: June 3, 2018

    In 2004, then New Paltz mayor, Jason West, officiated a number of same-sex weddings. Those ceremonies led to the first New Paltz Pride March & Festival held the following June, which has continued to grow ever since.

    In fact, last year’s march drew over 700 community members who marched down New Paltz’s Main Street to the festival in Hasbrouck Park.

  4. Bisbee Pride

    Bisbee, Arizona

    Population: 5,221

    Dates: June 15–17, 2018

    Bisbee Pride also started in 2004 by a small group of LGBT friends and has grown into a year-round community service focused non-profit organization that opened its own official headquarters earlier this year.

    This year’s theme is “Transcendence.”

  5. Palouse Pride

    Moscow, Idaho

    Population: 25,322

    Dates: August 25, 2018

    This three day Pride festival is the Inland Oasis’s biggest annual fundraiser and includes Drag Bingo, a march, festival, and the TabiKat Drag Show.

Bryan van Gorder usually writes about the places he's been or the famous people forced to talk to him.