Celebrating Gay Pride in Milwaukee

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Milwaukee PrideFest takes place at Henry Maier Festival Park in early June. photo by Andrew Collins

The rest of the world has finally begun to catch up to the fact that Milwaukee is a city of considerable charm, liberal attitudes, and a zero-attitude, vibrant gay and lesbian scene. It's also the site of one of the nation's largest gay pride festivals, Pridefest Milwaukee, held in early to mid-June each year. Additionally, the Milwaukee Gay Pride Parade takes at the same time.

PrideFest takes place over three days at a beautiful and centrally located venue right on Lake Michigan, the Henry Maier Festival Park at 200 N. Harbor Drive, just off I-794 and a few blocks southeast of downtown.

The Pridefest hours are typically Friday, 3 pm until midnight; Saturday, noon until midnight; and Sunday, noon until midnight. Performances take place on the main Miller Lite Mainstage as well as on other stages (including the Dance Pavilion, Wominz Spot Cafe, Loft Lounge, and MGAC Stage). There are always some terrific headlining acts. Last year they included Sarah Silverman on Friday; Big Freedia, Deborah Cox, and Crystal Waters on Saturday; and Blondie and GGOOLLDD on Sunday. Here's a detailed lineup of performers taking the stage during Milwaukee Pridefest.

Considering the caliber of performers, the cost for the festival is a bargain: last year it was just $13 for general admission on any particular day or $30 for a three-day pass good for the entire festival. (2018 prices) You can find the most recent pricing and purchase tickets online.

Milwaukee Gay Resources

Many gay bars as well as gay-popular restaurants, hotels, and shops have special events and parties throughout Pride Week. Check the Milwaukee Gay Nightlife Guide and local gay papers, such as Quest for details. Also take a look at the excellent GLBT site produced by the city's official tourism organization, the Milwaukee CVB.