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Pride ’21 will include a Covid-safe event on Washington Square and a Rainbow March & Rally

The Utah Pride Center announced plans for Pride Week 2021, to be held June 1 through 7. As in recent years, the event will be held at Washington Square, home of the Salt Lake City-County Building, but this will not be Pride as usual due to the worldwide pandemic.

“This will be a week-long pride celebration like no other,” Robert Moolman, executive director of the Utah Pride Center, said. “Our team has gotten creative with the realities of the day, and we have worked with city and health officials to plan a Covid-safe yet fun, face-to-face series of events.”

“This celebration will replace the annual Pride Festival and Pride Parade this year,” Moolman said. “This incredible event will probably never happen again in this form and on this scale. It’s going to be unique, fun, educational, and offer an opportunity to come out of our houses, be together again and do so safely.” 

With mandated restrictions on face-to-face events, such Pride staples as vendors, food trucks, beverages, and stages will not happen this year. What will happen is an opportunity to meet together to learn, play, and be entertained through a series of exhibits and events.

Pride-goers will reserve a time to go onto the grounds so crowd size can be controlled, said Moolman. While there, they will go through what looks like a maze if looked at from above. Called the Pride Story Garden, many exhibits and interactive areas will be placed throughout the grounds. Some will go through the history of the LGBTQ movement, some will tell the stories of people past and present in the community, and some will focus on different parts of the community.

The week starts on June 1 with the flag-raising at the Salt Lake City-County Building and the reading of Pride proclamations from city and state leaders.

“We are asking leaders of cities, counties, and the state of Utah to proclaim the week as Pride Week,” said Moolman. “We are very hopeful that Gov. [Spencer] Cox will be the first to proclaim Pride officially.”

On June 2, the annual Pride Interfaith Service will be held, welcoming faiths of all kinds to come together and celebrate the community in their own special ways.

The Pride Story Garden will open on June 3 and run through the 7th.

On the night of June 5, the “Pride in the Sky” fireworks show will take place.

Rather than a Pride Parade, the event returns to its roots of a “Rainbow March and Rally,” starting at the Utah State Capitol, running down State Street past the City-County Building, and ending at Liberty Park.

“The huge rainbow flag will be at the beginning, rather than at the end, of the march and will lead marchers along the route,” Moolman said. “Can you imagine how that will look as the flag stretches down State Street on Capitol Hill? What a great photo opportunity.”

“There will be different balloon arches representing the many parts of our community all along the march route. They will be collected as the march passes them, culminating in a massive balloon flag once it reaches the end,” Moolman continued.

At the garden, one of the key exhibits will be coming from the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Fort Lauderdale. It chronicles the LGBTQ movement through history.

“A fun part of that exhibit will be the ability to reenact when anti-gay activist Anita Bryant received a pie in the face during a press conference,” Moolman said.

Bryant, a singer and spokesperson for the Florida Orange Growers, called her campaign “Save Our Children” and began crisscrossing the nation to rid schools of LGBTQ teachers. St. Paul, Minn. nurse, and gay activist Thom Higgins interrupted a live press conference by throwing a pie in Bryant’s face. “At least it’s a fruit pie,” Bryant responded.

QSaltLake Magazine will also exhibit 18 magazine covers representing its 18 years of printing.

All funds raised during the event will help fund the year-round programs and services of the Utah Pride Center.

As further details are solidified, watch the QSaltLake website and utahpridecenter.org.

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