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Capitol Hill Pride Festival making plans to expand to Pride Sunday

The 2015 Capitol Hill Pride Festival reportedly drew 35,000 to Broadway (Images: CHS)

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.

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13 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Pride Festival making plans to expand to Pride Sunday

  1. I wish they would bring back the pride parade to Capitol Hill. I only went to once since moving to its current Downtown Seattle location. Oh well, at least I have my memories.

  2. I now just enjoy what takes place on the Hill. Going downtown to the parade which has gotten to political and commercial isn’t worth the effort to me. And Seattle Center is such a cluster with no easy way to get back on up toe Capitol Hill.

    Glad to see the expansion of activities near by. I can easily enjoy with friends and have a better time.

    • Pride has always been political. Pride in community is how we’ve arrived at equal rights. Or almost equal rights, anyway. And yes, Pride Parades put it out there to be counted. It didn’t just happen by having a bunch of beer gardens. Luckily it was worth the effort to somebody.

    • While I’m only 42, I know the struggle of my people, Jim ;)

      And when I say politics, not speaking of our government.

    • hear hear. Downtown pride feels like one big commercial. Also, getting out of that area and back to the hill is a pain.

      The broadway festivities on the other hand have a nice block-party feel. And it’s much closer to my place :)

  3. This is great! I love the Saturday events that have been going on for a few years now. It would be great to have a neighborhood alternative to going down to the disaster at Seattle Center.

    It was such a slap in the face to the businesses on the hill that supported our community for decades when they moved the parade of Broadway.

    And who cares if it is business or community driven?! Businesses are part of the community! Why does everything have to be an us v. them game. Sheesh.

  4. I love having a variety of events on the hill for Saturday and the big events (that could not be thrown anymore on the Hill) downtown. However, Charlette, who’s in charge of the event on Broadway, produces a horrible event. Large gaps, really weak entertainment, and where does all the money go from the event? The non-profits who run Seattle Pride and PrideFest at least have books that anybody could see, and they’re run by queer people. Charlette is not queer, doesn’t live on Capitol Hill, doesn’t have a business on Capitol Hill…and now she wants to divide our community by producing a competing event for Sunday? Shameful money grab by someone who isn’t even part of our community. (the Julia’s stage has consistently been a lot of fun, but that’s run by Julia’s — which is gay owned and operated — and is not an official part of Charlette’s event)

    That said, Saturday should be ALL about Capitol Hill for Pride. From the Wildrose to Purr, PrideFest Capitol Hill and Family Day out of Cal Anderson Park, and the popular Broadway Fest, it’s all good and a great way to celebrate community on Pride weekend.

  5. The Pride Festival isn’t even part of the ACTUAL Pride festival. It’s put up by the local businesses since Pride was moved downtown. Even as a gay person, I have zero interest in either.

  6. I think the Saturday event on Broadway has been a great complement to the big Sunday events. I also think having Sunday’s parade and festival downtown and at the Seattle Center really helps those events feel like landmark regional celebrations – which they should be. I don’t think splitting the focus Between Seattle Center and Broadway on Sunday is a very good idea.