The answer, no matter who you are, is YES. (Or rather, YAAAASS!)
The question: Is S.C. Pride a festival for me?
Whether you’re gay or straight, a veteran or first-timer, drag queen or wallflower, Columbia’s Famously Hot S.C. Pride festival is proud to have you all.
“You come to realize we’re not going to grow as a community if we don’t welcome our allies with us,” said Jeff March, president of S.C. Pride. “If we are truly only 10 percent of the population, we can’t win anything on our own. We have to have our allies, so reaching out to them is important.”
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Famously Hot S.C. Pride is one of Columbia’s biggest annual events, drawing an estimated 55,000 people to Main Street last year.
This year, its 28th, the festival expands to two days, with a parade and street dance party featuring rapper Lil Kim on Friday night and a full festival day with concerts and RuPaul’s Drag Racers on Saturday.
In many ways, it’s about celebrating the advances that have been made for the LGBT community over the years, March said.
“The more out we become and the more vocal we become, the more acceptance we achieve,” March said. “A lot of people, especially here in the South, haven’t been able to experience full acceptance in their lives. They come out to the streets and experience such a great atmosphere and a loving, warm acceptance. It’s such a positive thing to see.”
Here’s how to plan your S.C. Pride weekend:
If you’re a first-timer: For the full Pride experience, you’ve got to see the parade down Main Street on Friday night (the festival’s first nighttime parade), and you’ve got to go to the festival Saturday afternoon. All along Main Street on Saturday, you’ll find vendors representing all the local LGBT organizations with resources and information to answer any of your questions.
If you want to bring the kids: Do it! The parade and festival are family-friendly, plus there will be a booze-free area at Main and Washington streets Saturday. But once the sun starts to fade, it might be time to put the kids to bed – Friday night’s post-parade street dance party featuring Lil’ Kim and DJ Mimi Imfurst (of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”) is rated R.
If you’re a real diva: Drag queens, y’all. Look forward to performances by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars Phoenix, Detox, Latrice Royale, Trinity Taylor and Kennedy Davenport, as well as local queens including Paris Lefaris. Plus, Drag Racer Mimi Imfurst will be DJing Friday night’s street dance party and Saturday night’s Aftermath party at Main Street Public House.
If you neeeeed to dance: Friday night’s street dance party at Main and Lady streets is where you need to be. Rapper Lil’ Kim is a big get for the festival, and she’ll be performing after the parade at the intersection of Main and Lady, with DJing by Mimi Imfurst. Saturday’s festival features more musical performances by Jody Watley, Betty Who, Debby Holiday and Alissah Brooks, plus drag performances.
If you want to party all night long: Get yourself ready for the weekend festivities Thursday night at PT’s 1109 on Assembly Street (beside Takosushi). Friday night after the parade and street dance party, head to the Capital Club on Gervais Street for what March calls the “pre-party after-party.” (Here are some pride-themed drinks you can get at PT’s and the Capital Club.) Then, Saturday night after the daylong festival, join the Aftermath party at Main Street Public House, featuring DJ Mimi Imfurst and a lineup of other “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars. Admission to the Aftermath party is $15 at the door.
If you’re looking for a more subdued event: Wind down with the annual Pride Picnic at noon Sunday at Reformation Lutheran Church.
If you go
7 p.m.: Parade on Main Street, starting at Richland Street and traveling south to Lady Street.
Then: Street dance party at the corner of Main and Lady, featuring rapper Lil’ Kim and DJ Mimi Imfurst.
Followed by: Fireworks.
Later: “Pre-party after-party” at the Capital Club, 1002 Gervais St.
Noon-7 p.m.: Famously Hot S.C. Pride Festival on Main Street, with stages at Main and Lady and at Boyd Plaza outside the Columbia Museum of Art.
Followed by: Aftermath party at Main Street Public House featuring DJ Mimi Imfurst and other “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars, $15 at the door, 1556 Main St.
Noon-2 p.m.: Annual Pride Picnic at Reformation Lutheran Church, 1118 Union St.