GR Pride Festival 2024
Come Celebrate with Us
Come Celebrate with Us
Find out what to expect at Pride Fest and how to prepare to have an amazing time!
What to expect
Grand Rapids Pride Center is thrilled to welcome everyone back for a second in-person Pride Festival this year! Some things will continue to look different from previous years, and some will look similar to what you’re used to. Some of the changes are Covid-19 precautions you should be used to now, some are Mpox precautions, and some are changes for the better that we hope to be able to continue with your support (like that Pride is again free this year!) Here are some essential things you should be aware of to better prepare for Pride before you come down:
Yes, Pride will be FREE for everyone again this year.
We are happy to take donations to help us maintain services. Please visit one of the three information/security/accessibility booths if you are interested in donating, or you can do so anytime, all year long online at grpride.org/donate. Donations make it possible for us to put on Pride Fest and to maintain the programs & services we provide all year long. They are essential to ensuring Pride Fest is fun for everyone.
This year’s Pride Festival will still be at Calder Plaza.
This year’s Pride Festival will still be at Calder Plaza, but we will again not have a fence around it because it is free. This also makes it more easily walkable and more accessible for various abilities. Unfortunately, this also means that protesters may have easier access as well. While we are doing our best to manage that issue, we want you to be aware and alert. We ask that you not engage with protesters. Please report any issues to our security team.
We will have a private professional security team!
We will have a private professional security team! The Pride Festival Committee has contracted with a local LGBTQ+-owned private professional security service to provide security for the event. These are trained security professionals who also care personally about the safety and particular needs of LGBTQ+ people. In fact, 80% of the staff are LGBTQ+ themselves. If you have any concerns, we encourage you to reach out to a security team member. There will be three booths spread throughout the Festival, and roaming security.
Solidarity with our most impacted and historically silenced community members
The Grand Rapids Pride Center remains in solidarity with our most impacted and historically silenced community members (BIPOC, trans, disabled, etc.) and our stance is that police don’t belong at Pride and aren’t welcome in our space. The City of Grand Rapids mandates that in order to obtain a permit for events, organizers must accept that the GRPD has the right to decide if they will staff the event as well. The GRPD makes their determination based on their own concerns around the size and scope of the event, the community it serves, and potential perceived safety issues.
There will be three tables throughout the Pride Festival that will serve as combined Information/Security/Accessibility booths. The folks staffing these booths can help you with:
- Information about the Pride Festival schedule of events
- Cold water
- Free earplugs
- Free rainbow surgical mask to help you stay safe if you forgot yours
- Free condoms (latex & non-latex, as well as internal condoms) & dental dams
- Free fentanyl test strips
- Get information on disability accessibility issues & provisions at the Pride Festival
- Register a concern or complaint about accessibility so that we can plan better for next year
- Get security assistance
- Get first aid assistance, including Narcan administration if needed, and assistance for calling an ambulance safely if needed for any other reason as well
- And more!
Please No Smoking or Vaping
This year’s Pride Festival is a smoke-free and vape-free event. While the Grand Rapids Pride Center in no way judges our community member’s personal habits, we also know that smoking and vaping have adverse secondhand impacts. Smoking and vaping also dramatically increase the risks of contracting Covid, having adverse outcomes of Covid and other health risks, and smoking and vaping make it difficult to wear a mask which therefore also increases the risks of exposure for the smoker and others to Covid during such a crowded event. The entirety of the Pride Festival grounds is a no-smoking/no-vaping area, but you are welcome to smoke outside its perimeters. There will also be LGBTQ+-centered cessation resources available at the Grand Rapids Pride Center information table (you can also see our Accessibility/Healthcare Coordinator, Aaminah Shakur, anytime at the Grand Rapids Pride Center for these resources – email@example.com).
Open to ALL LGBTQ+ people
Pride Festival is open to ALL LGBTQ+ people, so please be aware that we are a diverse community. While there are aspects of the events that are family-friendly and children are certainly welcome (the children’s area is located on the NW side of the Fifth-Third patio at Ottawa/Lyon, and closes at 6pm), the Festival does not cater exclusively to children and we do not censor the expression of attendees or performers either. Please be aware that children will be exposed to the full diverse sartorial and aesthetic display of our wonderful community.
Be Inclusive and Kind
Pride Festival began as a riot for the right to be our true selves, and remains an opportunity to celebrate ourselves in our full glory. The Grand Rapids Pride Center firmly asserts that LGBTQ+ outsiders, including kink communities, belong at Pride Festival, as they are who Pride originated with and for. We would also like to remind everyone that there are straight people under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. There is no place for transphobia, bi/panphobia, anti-ace perspectives, or ignorance of the struggles of intersex members of our community. Additionally, racism, anti-Blackness, Islamophobia, antisemitism, fatmisia, ableism, xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiments, ageism, and other such hatred have no place at Pride either.
Here are some other things you should prepare for:
- We strongly recommend/require wearing a mask at all times when not eating or drinking during Pride Festival in order to reduce the risk of Covid exposure and transmission. We offer free masks at the three Information/Security/Accessibility booths.
- We also strongly recommend testing for Covid prior to the festival and not attending if you test positive OR if you have symptoms of Covid or any other illness.
- We also recommend testing after Pride Festival as well. If you need a home test, please stop into the Grand Rapids Pride Center prior to Pride Festival to pick up free home tests. (Free tests will continue to be available after Pride Fest at GRPC.)
- We recommend being vigilant about signs of Mpox and seeing your doctor immediately if you have any reason to believe you may have contracted Mpox at Pride Fest. Information on what to watch for is available here. There is a vaccine for Mpox that is a two-shot series over two months that we also recommend for our community members, and it can be received at KCHD.
- Reduce waste by bringing your own water bottle so you can refill it at the water stations. Don’t forget to hydrate, as it will be hot!
- Don’t forget to carry extra medications you may need, such as insulin, allergy meds, your inhaler, etc.
- Please drink responsibly, and be aware that our servers are trained & authorized to cut people off when they feel it is appropriate to do so. Please treat them with respect.
- We are aware that people do use substances and from our harm reduction ethics we would like to ask that folks be conscious of their safety and surroundings. Please consider carrying Narcan and knowing how to administer it, carrying and using fentanyl test strips if you are using substances, and ensuring you are hydrating responsibly as well. Fentanyl test strips will be available at our three Information/Security/Accessibility booths, and Narcan and first aid/Narcan administration as well as non-judgmental assistance with obtaining ambulance care if needed is also available there.
- Bring sunblock and don’t forget to reapply it as needed to avoid sunburn. Sunblock should ideally be reapplied approximately every hour that one is out sweating in the sun.
- If you have fresh tattoos or new surgical scars, please provide extra coverage and care to them for their healing process. You may be excited to show them off as part of your gender euphoria or body love, but it is important for them to heal safely & fully – the sun can cause serious damage to that process. Care well for them this year so they will be beautiful to show off next year!
- The Grand Rapids Pride Center asserts that only relationships that involve proper consent and that are based on dynamics where appropriate consent is possible are valid. Please be mindful of seeking and obtaining consent for any touching or pursuing of romantic or other interest. Please do not attempt to take advantage of underage, intoxicated, or otherwise uninterested attendees. If you are uncomfortable with excessive attention you are receiving or feel someone is attempting to take advantage of you, or you witness someone being taken advantage of, please reach out to a security team member.
- Free condoms and dental dams will be available at our three Information/Security/Accessibility booths as well as at the KCHD & Red Project trucks, and free confidential STI testing will be available at the KCHD and Red Project trucks located on Ottawa Avenue between Lyon and Pearl, near the Sensory Area.
- There will be ASL interpreters for the performances, but this year despite early planning we have struggled to obtain sufficient interpreters. We apologize for the limited access.
- Earplugs will be available (free) from any of the three Information/Security/Accessibility booths. For those who may find the noise of the event to be a bit much, we recommend grabbing a pair.
- There are 50 Port-a-Potties and an accessible, 4 wheelchair accessible Port-a-Potties (located at the Beer Garden, Sensory Area, & Food Court) and a restroom trailer with a washroom and 2 stalls
- The accessible restroom trailer is located at the sensory space
- There will be a sensory area at the Hyatt/Warner building on Ottawa/Lyon.
- This is at street level and the building provides shade as well as a large area with seating and tables.
- The sensory area will include fidget toys and other activities for folks who need to “get away” from being overstimulated by the event. Along with Festival volunteers at all times who will maintain COVID safety and keep the area clean & sanitized, there will also be a therapist and medic available there at most times.
- We do request that people respect the intention of this area and do not “bring the party” to this space, please.
- There will also be a therapist most of the day in this area – the therapist cannot provide therapy but can provide support should there be a need
- There will be therapists and medics available most of the day at the Information/Security/Accessibility booths – if you are experiencing feeling triggered, unsafe, or a medical condition, please reach out.
- There will be water coolers available throughout the entire festival, and you are encouraged to bring your own water bottle to refill as needed to stay hydrated.
- The Festival area has been redesigned to offer a more walkable area and greater space for wheelchair and other mobility aids as well as all bodies to safely and comfortably get around.
We know that we were not able to address every accessibility measure. If you have any concerns or issues about accessibility at Pride Fest this year, please contact our Accessibility Coordinator, Aaminah Shakur, firstname.lastname@example.org.