Utah Pride 2021 Preview

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This year’s Utah Pride is promised to be “A-Maze-Ing.”

Like all events on the scale of the Utah Pride Festival, Pride will look a bit different this year. But different also means one-of-a-kind and, as it turns out, grander than ever.

“Oddly, with the limitations on Pride because of the Coronavirus, Pride will be bigger and grander than it has ever been,” said Rob Moolman, executive director of the Utah Pride Center. “The event will be a full seven days long, and will range from a massive Washington Square event to fireworks to a longer Pride March than has ever taken place.”

Tickets are already on sale for the event. Because of the pandemic, each participant will need to reserve a time that they will arrive. Those who want to go in groups will need to register together so they can enter at the same time.

Volunteer applications are also online.

Here are he scheduled events as we know them today:

Tuesday June 1

Utah Pride has invited the state, counties, and cities to issue proclamations of Utah Pride Month and will celebrate those that come through during a flag-raising at the Salt Lake City-County Building.

Wednesday, June 2

The annual Pride Interfaith Service will involve faiths from around the state to participate. From Pagan to Jewish, Baptist to Buddhist, Unitarian to Sikh, Muslim to metaphysical, each sect will show their welcome, their support, and their love of the LGBTQ community.

Thursday, June 3 – Monday, June 7

The Pride Story Garden opens on Washington Square.

This original, one-time Pride Story Garden is an interactive outdoor exhibit curated with national and local partners. A limited number of guests will be allowed access at any one time to roam and find their way through this “a-maze-ing” exhibit that will tell “Our History, Our Stories, Our Communities.”

To ensure the safety of guests and volunteers, date- and time-specific tickets will allow a limited number of attendees to enter the Story Garden at any one time.  All tickets must be purchase online and will not be available for purchase onsite.

The Garden will be open each day through Monday, June 7 from 10 a.m to 9:30 p.m.

Discount tickets are available during weekdays. Friends and families of four through 20 can come together and save with Pride Packages. All funds raised will be used to make 2021’s unique Pride Week Celebration possible and support the year-round lifesaving programs and services of the Utah Pride Center.

There are 20 unique gardens available to guests, each with their own theme to highlight “Our History, Our Stories, Our Communities.”  Gardens will include educational, artistic, informational, and interactive elements with limited physical contact. 

Guests will also have an option to purchase the “Garden Games Gift Bag,” which will include toys and tools to enhance the Pride Garden experience and participate in all interactive elements.

The Gardens are as follows:

Utah Queer History

Displays of the people, organizations, and events that shaped the history of Utah’s LGBTQ community will be memorialized in the Utah Queer History Garden. Among the exhibits, QSaltLake Magazine will show enlargements of 18 of the most interesting covers from its 18 years of publishing Utah’s LGBTQ publication.

Walk-thru Civil Rights Timeline

A special exhibit courtesy of the Stonewall National Museum & Archives will take you through the national and world timeline of the LGBTQ civil rights movement.

The Stonewall National Museum and Archives is one of the largest gay archives and libraries in the United States, now almost 50 years old. They have granted Utah Pride with their exhibits to help make this the grandest event Utah’s LGBTQ community has ever produced.

Tribute Garden

The Tribute Garden will memorialize local heroes in Utah’s LGBTQ history. Nominations from the community are being solicited for a diverse representation of Utah’s LGBTQ+ community with inspirational and compelling stories of people who are currently alive and have impacted our lives and helped to shape “Our History, Our Stories, Our Communities.” Selected tributes may be printed and displayed within the 2021 Pride Story Garden and beyond.

Arts and Entertainment Gardens

Utah’s LGBTQ community has a rich arts and entertainment involvement. This garden will celebrate the queer arts.

Community Stakeholders Garden

Come meet the organizations and businesses that enrich our community. From sports to political organizations, and businesses who support us through their involvement in our community.

Stonewall Archives Gardens

Local historians have been archiving the Utah LGBTQ community’s history for decades and will present some of the most interesting stories of our community through the years.

Utah Queendom Garden

“Oh look, Donald, drag queens!”

Okay, a reference to a very obscure film from 2001. Sue me. It’s one of my favorites.

Drag enthusiasts will enjoy the superstars of Utah’s drag queen community in this garden.

Center Zone Gardens

Come see the life-saving programs of the Utah Pride Center in these gardens. Find what programs are the best fit for you to participate in or support through the year.

Transgender Garden

Utah’s transgender community is among the best organized in the country. Come learn more about how you can understand, support, and appreciate Utah’s T community,

Living LGBTQ+ Around the World

Not all countries are as accepting and supporting of elements of the United States’ LGBTQ community. Come learn about the uniqueness and challenges of LGBTQ communities around the world.

“It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears,” “It’s a queer world after all.”

Sorry — no boat rides will be presented.

LGBTQ+ People of Color

Learn to appreciate the different experiences that LGBTQ people of color experience in the state and across the nation. BIPOC and other organizations will participate in exhibits meant to help understand and appreciate different outlooks on life from minority populations.

Sanctuary Secret Garden

Studio 54 Dance Party Garden

The impact of queer music will be felt in the Studio 54 Dance Party Garden. Don the wigs and outfits of the 70s disco era and dance your ass off.

Memory Garden

Nominations are being taken for the Memory Garden — a place where you can memorialize LGBTQ friends and family who have passed on.

LGBTQIAA Flags / Identities

What do all the letters and colors of our community mean? There are a zillion flags, what do each represent? The letters — how do we understand them? This garden will walk you through the many vast and fabulous parts of our community.

PRIDE Rainbow

The rainbow was first brought to our community by Gilbert Baker for the Gay Freedom Day Parade in 1978. Each color of the rainbow represented, to Baker, a special part of the gay experience, from sex to life to healing to spirit. Come understand the meaning of the Pride Rainbow.

Sunday, June 6

The Rainbow March and Rally

Past Utah Pride Festivals have hosted and organized the “Dyke March,” “Trans March,” and the “Pride March and Rally,” to provide a space and opportunity to celebrate, recognize and give voice to our lesbian, dyke, trans, bi, pansexual, queer, BIPOC and non-binary communities.

Join the event at the Utah State Capitol for the Rainbow March and Rally, on Sunday, June 6 beginning at 10 am. This year the Rainbow Rally and March will be even more of a focal point of the week. We will “Raise Our Voices” in support of all of these communities again, as we, Utah’s LGBTQ+ community once again, engage in our protest roots and history.”

Starting near the Utah State Capitol building at 300 North State St., marchers will carry the 300’ rainbow flag and the first balloon arch. The flag and balloon arch will march down State Street and meet the next balloon arch, and then the next balloon arch and the next until all have joined together to create a massive balloon arch of over 1000 balloons as the march reaches Harvey Milk Boulevard and Sixth east at Liberty Park.

Protest and rally wear is encouraged, as well as posters and signs to “raise your voices.”

The event is free and open to the public. Masks and social distancing will be required.

As you can see, this event is truly a unique opportunity to connect and celebrate with our community in a way that only a time requiring creative thinking can bring.

More information is available at utahpridecenter.org

Michael Aaron

Michael Aaron is the editor and publisher of QSaltLake. He has been active in Utah's gay and lesbian community since the early 80s and published two publications then and in the 90s.

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