At last year's Pride festival, it was hard to walk 15 feet without bumping into yet another orange-shirted Minnesotans United volunteer making absolutely sure everyone knew about the upcoming anti-marriage amendment vote. Their omnipresence, and the political backdrop they represented, lent an apprehensive atmosphere to the event as folks tried to celebrate while also preparing for the worst. Thanks to the political boomerang that ensued, bringing full marriage equality a year later, the mood at Loring Park this weekend should be very different. A small city of booths will be installed overnight, including gay-friendly organizations, Minnesota Atheists, Project 515, and even the Upper Midwest Great Dane Rescue. There will be five stages of all-day entertainment from local bands, cabarets, and a plethora of drag troupes. Carnival food, canoe rides, arts and crafts for sale, pickup volleyball games, and lakeside nuptials will be part of the scene as well (though it'll be August before unions can be made official). But these things have always been secondary to the thousands of folks who come to the park to be themselves, all together, for one weekend. This year, queer Minnesota has one giant step forward to celebrate, and there's little doubt it will do so, loudly and proudly. Sunday's festivities will feature the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade, which will travel along Hennepin Avenue, starting at 11 a.m. at Third Street and ending at Spruce. For more info, visit tcpride.org.
Sat., June 29, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., June 30, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 2013