Steve September 15, 2021

Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride Parade and street festival, has announced it will hold the city’s first annual “Colorful Fest” LGBTQ Pride events on Oct. 17 that will include a Street Fair and Block Party.

The announcement, posted on the Capital Pride Alliance website, says the Street Fair will take place from 12-6 p.m. on 15th Street, N.W. between P and Q Streets.

The Block Party, according to the announcement, will take place from 12-8 p.m. at the Northwest corner of 15th and P streets, N.W. next to the site of the street fair.

“The Street Fair will feature small independent businesses, community groups, artisans, and food along 15th Street,” the Capital Pride announcement says. “The lively Block Party will include entertainment, an As You Are Bar pop-up, and dancing throughout the day for guests 21 and over,” says the announcement.

It says part of the Block Party will take place in the parking lot of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, which is acting as a host for the event. 

“Join us as we once again celebrate our vibrant and colorful LGBTQ+ community!” the announcement says.

Facemasks will not be required during the outdoor events, the announcement adds. But it says, “only individuals with proof of vaccination may enter the Colorful Fest Block Party.” And according to the announcement, “Capital Pride Alliance staff, volunteers, performers, and vendors are required to show proof of vaccination to participate in the event.”

Capital Pride Alliance Executive Director Ryan Bos said the organization would issue a press release later this week officially announcing the Oct. 17 Colorful Fest events. 

“This is the start of what we hope will become a new annual fall event,” Bos told the Washington Blade.

The announcement on the Capital Pride Alliance website says Nissan and Xfinity have signed on as the Colorful Fest’s lead sponsors. Other sponsors include Amazon, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Human Rights Campaign, CareFirst, Tito’s, Heineken, and Wegman’s.

The Oct. 17 events will follow by four months a June 12 Capital Pride Walk from Dupont Circle to Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C. in which Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, joined in an unannounced appearance. Harris became the first U.S. vice president to participate in an LGBTQ Pride event.

In addition to the Pride Walk, Capital Pride Alliance organized on that same day a small-scale Pride celebration at Freedom Plaza and a Pridemobile Parade in which about 50 vehicles decorated with Pride related signs and banners traveled through all four of the city’s quadrants.

The Pride Walk, Pridemobile Parade, and the Freedom Plaza gathering marked the first in-person, post-COVID Pride events in D.C. following the decision by Capital Pride to cancel all large in-person events in 2020 due to the city’s COVID restrictions.

In past years, prior to COVID, the Capital Pride Parade and street festival, which was held on Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol, drew over 250,000 people from the D.C. area and the mid-Atlantic region.

Capital Price Alliance’s decision to put on the Oct. 17 events comes at a time when LGBTQ Pride organizations in close to a dozen U.S. cities, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Richmond, have cancelled or postponed planned in-person Pride events for the late summer or fall of 2021 due to COVID concerns.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser lifted the city’s restrictions on large outdoor events in May of this year, as the city’s COVID-19 cases declined significantly following a large-scale vaccination campaign. However, Bowser has said she and the city’s public health officials will be monitoring the recent uptick in COVID cases due to the Delta variant strain of the coronavirus. She said additional restrictions such as a limit on large outdoor gatherings could be put in place if the caseload rises.

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