You're Invited: Celebrate Washington D.C.'s Capital Pride

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday May 30, 2022
Originally published on May 26, 2022

It's always a great time to visit the nation's capital city. Washington, D.C. has a large LGBTQ+ population, and that's reflected in the city's many LGBTQ+-owned and operated businesses, its beautiful boutique hotels, the bars and clubs that make its night life vibrant, and more.

But over the weekend of June 10th through the 13th, D.C. will definitely the place to be! That's when Capital Pride returns with a plethora of events celebrating our out, proud, and patriotic community, including the city's historic Pride Parade.

Things kicks off on Friday, June 10, with a riot — of music, fellowship, and love, that is. RIOT! is the Official Opening Party for the weekend, launching the festivities at 9:00 pm at Echostage. Naturally, an event this big calls for super-sized star power, and it will be there in the form of "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 13 winner Symone. (Note: RIOT! Is an 18+ event.)

Another Pride party on Saturday night keeps things moving with KINETIC: Pride at Echostage. More than just another Pride weekend happening, Echostage was recently voted the #1 club in the world by DJ Mag! Come find out why, as DJ's Dan Slater and Ben Bakson spin an epic B2B set with world-class lighting, sound, and production. Doors open at 10:00 pm. (Follow-up party discoVERS kicks off at 10 pm Saturday, June 11; combo tickets are available for both events.)

Pride continues on Sunday, June 12 with the Pride Festival, a cornucopia of representation along America's Main Street, Pennsylvania Avenue. America the Beautiful is reflected at the free event, with food, drink, and three stages' worth of entertainment, plus more than 300 exhibitors, including service organizations, social groups, businesses, amateur sports leagues, faith-based groups, artists, potential employers, and more — all there from 12 noon — 7:00 pm.

There's still more fun — and music — to be had on Sunday at the Pride Concert, which closes out the weekend with three stages' worth of entertainment. Headlining group DNCE — with lead singer Joe Jonas, drummer Jack Lawless, and guitarist JinJoo Lee — will be joined by Symone, plus this year's "Drag Race" winner Willow Pill. The concert kicks off at 1 pm and continues until 8:00 pm. But that's not all that Capital Pride has to offer, because that's when the Sunset Dance Party begins! The Concert and Sunset Dance Party are free, but Pride goers can also purchase tickets for special access to the Concert Pit and the VIP Concert Experience.

That's just the warmup. The following day, Saturday, June 11, sees the return of the capital's historic Pride Parade, bigger and better than ever. This year's parade charts a course that honors D.C.'s vibrant gay neighborhood, a half century of LGBTQ+ civil rights struggle, and the oh-so-American tradition of taking it to the streets to announce that we're here, we're queer, and we're not going anywhere but toward equality. The Pride Parade starts at 3:00 pm.

The Parade's companion event is, of course, the Pride Block Party, a hub of food, drink, and entertainment before and after... and even during!... the historic Parade. The Block Party is a central location from which to watch the Parade (and those 21 and over can enjoy the delights of the Beverage Garden). DJs mixing the beats and turning up the heat will keep you dancing.

So will Saturday evening's ReMIX!, the Official Capital Pride Saturday Party, starting at 9:00 pm and continuing until 3:30 Sunday morning at City Winery. ReMIX! Promises you "the sound of DC," and top DJs will be spinning to make sure that all four dance floors stay packed! Tickets cost $50 at the door — if there are any left, that is. Guarantee your admission and pay less with an online ticket purchase, but don't wait too long: Each ticket release costs more than the last, and the first two releases are already sold out. Or, buy a combo ticket for access to both ReMIX! and Friday night's RIOT!

The Pride Flag won't just fly along with the Stars and Bars over America's Capital during Pride weekend; DC has a whole summer of Pride and community-related events ready to welcome you to the seat of American Democracy, starting with Black Pride from May 22 — 25, an annual celebration of the African-American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Sports fans can treat themselves to a night at the ballpark June 14 as America's favorite pastime — baseball — celebrates our community with DC home team the Washington Nationals Night OUT. The 17th edition of the annual event sees the National go toe-to-toe with the Atlanta Braves. Each special ticket includes a "special Nationals Night OUT giveaway item," but maybe more importantly provides $5 in funding to Team DC, a service organization dedicated to building community through sports.

August 5 - 7 sees the return of Outwrite, DC's free annual literary festival, featuring more then 80 out authors from around the world. Our voices are heard powerfully on the printed page, and Outwrite celebrates every form of the written word.

The nation's capital is a place of out, proud patriotism — never more so than now.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.