Back in December, the Gay Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore (GLCCB) put out a request for locals to send in their ideas for the theme of this year’s Baltimore Pride celebration. Of all the submissions, the one that stood out most to committee members was “United We Shine.”
“It’s representative of everything we stand for,” says LaKesha Davis, Pride coordinator with the GLCCB. “Even though there is still room to grow within the community, as long as we remain united, we will continue to shine.”
The inclusive theme will permeate to every aspect of the celebration—happening June 16-17—which officially moved its annual Saturday-afternoon block party from Mt. Vernon to the Station North Arts District last year.
The parade route has shifted slightly this year. Instead of beginning in Mt. Vernon, it will step off from East 33rd Street in Charles Village at 1 p.m. and head south on Charles Street—descending into the block party on East 23rd Street in Station North. The decision to switch up the route was sparked by concerns of traffic congestion from last year’s parade, which ended on North Avenue.
Davis says that the new route is not only practical, but also symbolic. Revelers will march through Charles Village, where the GLCCB originated in 1977, and descend into Pride’s new home.
“We try to find a way to make things better every year,” Davis explains.
Parade day celebrations will include the annual high-heel races and a new pet parade, as well as live entertainment by Chance The Rapper’s kid brother Taylor Bennett, hip-hop goddess Miami Tip, our own club queen TT The Artist, and The Voice runner-up Davon Fleming.
As in previous years, the fun continues on Sunday at Druid Hill Park with a festival showcasing local vendors, live DJ entertainment, eats and drinks, and a performance by headliner Tish Hyman. The Druid Hill festival is also home to the GLCCB’s Elder Pride and Family Pride programs, which will offer kid-friendly activities led by The Walters Art Museum and the Maryland Zoo this year.
After months of hard work organizing the event, which attracted nearly 30,000 people last summer, Davis says she’s eager to see the community come together.
“I would love to see the whole community stand together and be represented as a whole,” she says, “because that’s how we get things done. We have to remain united in order to make things happen.”
In keeping with this year’s theme, establishments all over town are hosting a number of rainbow-inspired events to celebrate Pride month. Here are a few to mark on your calendar:
6/13: Wine’d Up Wednesday
Kick off Pride Week at this annual fundraiser for the GLCCB, which serves more than 800 individuals per month with its various programs. Gather with other supporters to sip wines, snack on hors d'oeuvres, and bid on silent auction items at Flavor in Mt. Vernon. 15 E. Centre St. 6-10 p.m. $40. 443-569-2279
6/13: Laugh Out Loud
If you’re in need of some mid-week laughs, head to The Motor House for this upbeat comedy show featuring sets by local entertainers Michael Furr, Ruby Darling, Violet Gray, and Jezabelle Von Jane. The evening will be hosted by Baltimore “boylesque” icon Tommy Gunn. The Motor House, 120 W. North Ave. 7-9 p.m. $20. 410-637-8300
6/15: Twilight on the Terrace
For more than a decade, this candlelit fundraiser at Gertrude’s inside the Baltimore Museum of Art has provided an ideal jump-start to Pride weekend with eats, drinks, and dancing under the stars. Enjoy signature gin cocktails and bites by Gertrude’s while rubbing elbows with special guests like The Voice’s Fleming and Mayor Catherine Pugh. 10 Art Museum Drive. 7-11 p.m. $125. 410-889-3399
6/16: Parade Day Party at The Baltimore Eagle
Located in the epicenter of Saturday’s festivities, The Baltimore Eagle in Station North will be a headquarters for revelers on parade day. The bar is throwing a rainbow rager featuring food and drink deals, and live DJs spinning in multiple rooms all day and night. Experience the epic dance parties in style with The Eagle’s VIP package that gets you no-cover access and a free tank top. The Baltimore Eagle, 2022 N. Charles St. 11 a.m.- 2 a.m. Covers range from $5-15 throughout the day. 410-200-9858
6/23: Pride Double Feature at the Parkway
The SNF Parkway Theatre’s new family-friendly film series, Generation Parkway, continues with a special Pride installment later this month. The Pride outreach event starts with a showing of Beauty and the Beast at 1:30 p.m., and continues with Howard—a documentary about Baltimore-born theater musician Howard Ashman, who wrote some of Disney’s most iconic scores. 5 W. North Ave., 1:30 p.m. $8-14. 410-752-8083
6/23: Pride Art Exhibit and Drink Deals at Hotel Revival
In the heart of Mt. Vernon, celebrate Pride by taking in a live exhibit by local artist Jasjyot Singh Hans. Hans will be auctioning off three pieces, with 50 percent of the proceeds being donated to Hearts and Ears—a local organization that supports individuals in the LGBTQ community with behavioral health issues and concerns. Be sure to head upstairs to Topside to sip special Pride cocktails, including the $11 "So Fresh, So Green," made with Absolut Pride, mint-tea syrup, lime shrub, soda, and a mint garnish. The bar will also feature DC Brau's Pride Pils, and Bells Brewery's Sparkleberry ale for $5. Hotel Revival, 101 W. Monument St., 5-7 p.m. 410-727-7101.
6/27: LGBT Pride Night at Camden Yards
There will be some rainbow flair mixed in to the usual sea of orange at Camden Yards on Wednesday, June 27. The Orioles are offering a Pride-inspired ticket package for the evening’s game against the Seattle Mariners, including a special O’s Pride cap with rainbow embroidery. A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to Moveable Feast, a local charity that provides meals to locals living with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. 333 W. Camden St., 7:05 p.m. $70.
6/29: Baltimore Bike Party Pride Ride
This monthly bike trek is celebrating accordingly with a rainbow ride throughout the city. Pump up your tires and throw on some colorful garb to pedal around before descending into Highlandtown for an official after party at Old Line Spirits—complete with cocktails and beers from neighboring Monument City Brewing Company. Route details TBD. 6:30-11:30 p.m. Free.