In 1981, the first ever Indianapolis Pride event was held at the now gone Essex House Hotel, once located downtown. Many attendees arrived wearing masks to protect their identities because at that time, there weren’t any safe places for the LGBTQ+ community in Indianapolis.
Though there is still progress to be made, a lot has changed since then. Indianapolis has been home to many celebrations of Pride, from picnics, to festivals, dinners and more. Indy Pride Inc. helped Indianapolis’ Pride “come out of the closet” through numerous events, including the first annual Indy Pride festival in 2003. Today, the festival has grown to a week-long celebration featuring entertainment, vendors, parades and community-building events. With so much to do during this year’s Pride Week, we’ve narrowed it down to our favorite five events starting June 1, 2019:
Pet Pride – Saturday, June 1
Join fellow animal lovers at Riverside Park for one of the most adorable events on the Pride calendar! Whether or not you’re a pet parent, everyone is welcome to gather from noon to 3 p.m. for an afternoon of play and music centered around our furry friends. Local animal shelters, pet-centric business owners and nonprofit organizations will also be engaging with the community at this free event.
Community Picnic & Bat N’ Rouge, June 2
As we celebrate the 36th Anniversary of Pride Picnics, the 2019 Community Picnic will take place at Garfield Park from noon to 6 p.m., and is free to the entire community. Gather, eat, connect and celebrate Pride with friends and family, then join Indy’s Bag Ladies, the oldest HIV/AIDS fundraising group in Indiana, for the Bat N’ Rouge softball game starting at 3 p.m. Get your free ticket to the entire event here.
Indy Pride Music and Movie Night, June 5
Enjoy a summer evening in the Historic Military Park at White River State Park with entertainment, food and drinks. This event serves as the Pride of Indy’s Bands’ anniversary concert, and the group puts on show-stopping jazz, pep and concert band performances starting at 6 p.m. Following the concert, a family-friendly movie will be screened to cap off the perfect night of free entertainment!
Cadillac Barbie IN Pride Parade, June 8
Named after the Indy Pride Bag Lady alter-ego of Gary Brackett, the founder of Indy’s Pride Parade, the 2019 event will be the biggest yet! Indy’s first ever Pride Parade lasted just 15 minutes and featured one float, an antique truck, a few drag queens, some antique cars and a couple walking groups. This year’s free parade down Mass Ave will feature well over 140 floats, vehicles and walking groups and will last from 10 a.m. to noon
Indy Pride Festival, June 8
As the culmination of Indy Pride week, the Indy Pride Festival is a celebration you won’t want to miss. The event starts following the Pride Parade and runs all day long with performances from popular artists including Lizzo, Monet x Change, Dev, Blair St. Clair and more! Held at White River State Park, the festival has activities all ages will enjoy. Get tickets here.
Find more details about these events and other Pride Week happenings at indypride.org.