Charleston Pride 2018

Charleston celebrated Love in their 7th annual Pride Festival!

Since 2011, Charleston has been celebrating the LGBT community with an extravagant one day Pride parade and festival. Over the years though and with the help of some local LGBT organizations, the event has grown exponentially. In 2013, Charleston Pride was extended to a week long celebration involving various other events around town leading up to the annual Saturday parade and festival, and Pride was moved from North Charleston to Downtown Charleston. This year, Charleston Pride received record breaking amounts of attendees to the festival at Brittlebank Park and saw more entire families coming out to celebrate the LGBT community than ever before.

After a week of incredible events at places like REDUX, Hotel Indigo, and Taco Boy, the Pride festivities kicked off on Saturday morning at 9am with the parade. Participants marched the 1.8 mile parade route, showing what pride means to them and waving at the thousands of spectators crunched together along King Street. Floats that participated in the parade were even eligible for awards such as best use of Pride colors, most original, and best use of music. Many Magnet students participated in the parade, most marching with Joe Cunningham, who is running for Congress, but others with local organizations.

Following the parade, trolleys carried people down to Brittlebank park where vendors and food trucks were lined up, ready to keep the celebration going. There were booths set up where people could receive information from local LGBT support organizations such as We Are Family. This organization and many others helped to make this entire festival possible. There were also interactive events that raised money for ┬ácharities such as a dunk tank station. Additionally, there were various booths set up selling specific Charleston Pride merchandise as well as other LGBT flags, buttons, and bumper stickers. If you wanted anything, chances are they had it. Along the back side of the park, food trucks were lined up, ensuring attendees would not leave hungry. Options ranged from creole to Asian cuisine to standard stadium style food. With such a variety of options, everyone was guaranteed to find something they’d enjoy!

God, I wish I was 18 so I could participate in the Twerk off. I would’ve won.”

— Sarah Romagnuolo (12)

The main attraction though was definitely the stage. The first three hours of the festival were filled with a DJ and various performances from the Queens of Charleston, including a spectacular P!nk cover concert. During the intermissions of these sets, they had interactive events for the audience where they could win tickets to the festival’s late night event at The Music Farm called the Prism Party. These events included a twerk off, but unfortunately participants needed to be 18+ so we were unable to join in on the fun. Our disappointment did not last long though as the celebration continued with the headliners: Le1f and Betty Who. New York rapper, Le1f, had an electric set that had the entire crowd enthralled even if they did not know all of his songs. Following an unfortunate event that caused his set to be cut short, pop singer Betty Who took the stage, dazzling the audience with her catchy tunes.

Overall, Charleston Pride was an excellent event filled with great music and food that celebrated love and acceptance. Hopefully next year’s Pride event can be even bigger and better!