The 2015 Capitol Hill Pride Festival reportedly drew 35,000 to Broadway (Images: CHS)
The Capitol Hill Pride Festival will continue to grow into its eighth year as organizers plant to expand the Broadway street fair to a second day in 2016.
Planned for Saturday and Sunday, June 25th and 26th, the festival that got its grassroots start in 2009 has grown into an annual event that organizers say last year drew more than 35,000 to Broadway to celebrate Pride, enjoy performances and a doggie drag show, ride ponies(!), and, local merchants hope, visit restaurants and bars for food and drink.
Organizer Charlotte Lefevre, who used to operate the Seattle Museum of Mysteries on Broadway and has maintained a connection to the street’s older generations of businesses, must work with area businesses to secure approval for the second day of the festival, according to a discussion of the festival with the Seattle Special Events Committee. The Department of Neighborhoods has also asked the festival producers to invite Broadway business owners to have a “greater participation in planning” the annual event.
Capitol Hill used to be the center of Pride weekend’s activities. In 2006, the big parade moved downtown as it outgrew Broadway and expanded to be a bigger part of Seattle culture. While the parties and bar celebrations remained mostly on the Hill, the “official” events grew to spaces beyond the neighborhood.
This is the second year of growth for the Capitol Hill Pride Festival which added a Broadway parade and rally in 2015 and has continued to draw crowds despite the introduction of a competing event in Cal Anderson from the producers of the PrideFest event at Seattle Center. In 2013, Seattle PrideFest expanded its activities back to the Hill with Family Day in Cal Anderson and later added a street festival on 11th Ave. This year, PrideFest will also plans to expand its offerings on Capitol Hill on Saturday, June 25. (We’ve corrected and updated this paragraph — sorry for screwing up who was who with Seattle Pride and the year in which PrideFest returned for its first Cal Anderson family day.)
With a second day of the Broadway festival on Pride Sunday, revelers will face a choice about where to celebrate after the downtown parade — or whether to head downtown at all. A new light rail station just outside the Capitol Hill Pride Festival footprint will make the journey an easy one.
In the meantime, there are some logistics to work out. Last year, there was “sign confusion” due to high amount of construction projects in the area that caused a headache for organizers. And SDOT complained that Broadway’s Julia’s set up “a margarita cart selling to passing public.” That, unfortunately, is against the rules and won’t be allowed in 2016.