Your Guide To Mid-South Pride This Weekend In Memphis
Ed. Note: Contributor Aisling is here with all the info on this year’s Mid-South Pride Weekend, which includes the Festival at Robert Church Park on Saturday, the parade on Beale Street at 1 p.m., and more festivities going on all weekend.
Get ready for the most colorful weekend of the year, Memphis! It’s Mid-South Pride Weekend, and everyone’s invited to join in the fun. Although June is officially Pride Month, Memphis has held its Pride festival and many related events in September for the past few years so festival-goers can avoid the Bluff City’s summer heat and humidity and enjoy more comfortable weather.
Here are all the details:
The festivities kick off Friday night with a Big Gay Dance Party at Minglewood Hall. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the theme is “A Night at the Stonewall Inn.” The entrance to Minglewood Hall will be reimagined to resemble the façade of the historic Stonewall Inn, New York City’s iconic gay bar.
The NYC theme will include a glittering Midtown dance floor, featuring video sweeps of Greenwich Village merging into Downtown Manhattan, a Studio 54 VIP Room, and classic street treats like deli corned beef, pizza, and kebabs. Expect to dance with Lady Liberties as aerialists play among the skyscrapers. This adults-only party lasts from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Saturday morning, head Downtown to the 16th annual Mid-South Pride Festival, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Robert Church Park. Last year’s Pride Fest attracted record-breaking crowds, and this year’s festival is expected to be even bigger, with a grand parade, two stages of live entertainment, a ton of vendors, a larger REDZone for ages 18 and over, and even a wrestling ring.
Put on your most colorful attire and have a blast at one of the city’s most lively parades, which kicks off at 1 p.m. at the corner of 4th and Beale, heading west down Beale. Arrive early to grab a great viewing spot.
After the parade, at 3:15, Broadway performer and former American Idol contestant Frenchie Davis will take the Nike Stage to keep the party going. Stick around after her performance to enjoy the 4 p.m. drag show.
This year’s festival will also honor community heroes and two grand Marshalls — Jonathan Ealy and Aubrey DePew. Ealy, Director of Special Events and Venue Director of Opera Memphis, has been a leader in the local LGBTQ+ community, as chairman of the board of directors of OUTMemphis, former interim executive director of OUTMemphis, and a member of Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris’ Young Professionals Council, where he advocates for greater inclusion in county government. DePew is a community activist and founder of QCG Productions, an artist collective consisting of queer-identifying performers and allies who perform throughout the Mid-South.
Families are welcome and encouraged to attend the Pride parade and the open festival, but certain areas of the park, including the REDZone and VIP area, are for adults only. Well-behaved four-legged friends are permitted. And, although there’s no cover charge, there’s a $5 suggested donation at the park entrance.
On Sunday morning, bring your appetite to Overton Square for the Mid-South Pride Brunch Crawl, Start the day off with tasty food from your favorite restaurants on the Square, including Babalu, Lafayette’s, and Second Line, which will host a Drag Brunch at noon. The band Cruisin’ Heavy will take the stage at 2p.m. in Chimes Square. End the Sunday after Pride with cocktails and songs at the Zebra Lounge.
Happy Pride Weekend, Memphis!
Mid-South Pride Weekend 2019
About the Author
Aisling Maki is a freelance writer, editor, and public and media relations specialist with awards from The Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists and Public Relations Society of America, as well as several awards for fiction writing. Her work has appeared in publications in more than 20 countries. You can usually find her cheering on the Grizzlies, doing outdoorsy things, or traveling with her daughter, Brídín. They live in Cooper-Young with a dog, a guinea pig and a pair of pet mice.