The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul celebrate Gay Pride for more than a full week each June (June 19 to June 26 in 2016), in part to honor a seminal moment in the history of lesbian and gay rights, New York City's Stonewall Riots.
In the Twin Cities, Pride celebrations center around a series of events held around the last week of June, culminating with two major events, the Pride Festival on Saturday, June 25, and the Pride Parade and continuation of the Pride Festival on Sunday, June 26.
During the weeks leading up to Pride, you can attend a number of related events and activities. Here's a complete Twin Cities Pride calendar.
Kicking things off with a big splash this year will be a concert by the always hilarious comedian Kathy Griffin, taking place Thursday evening, June 23, at Orchestra Hall.
Sunday before Pride is the Pride Picnic in St. Paul, at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. The festivities begin at 11 am and last until 2 pm - they typically include races and table games; burgers, hot dogs, and salads; and a softball game.
The Twin Cities main event is a weekend-long Pride Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday, in lovely Loring Park. There are several stages hosting a variety of performers, which this year include The Pointer Sisters, Adore Delano, and The Phoenix Philosophy. There is traditionally a children's and family area, food courts, a GLBT history pavilion, a "University Row" set up to provide information about colleges and universities in the area and their GLBT outreach, and Quorum Village, a 400-strong vendor/exhibitor gathering presented by the Twin Cities GLBT Chamber of Commerce.
The festival culminates with the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade, which takes place on Sunday, June 26, at 11 am (the Pre-Parade Show typically starts at 9 am). The parade has become more and more popular, drawing more than 125,000 spectators in recent years. It begins at the corner of 3rd Street and Hennepin Avenue and follows Hennepin south to the Pride Festival, in Loring Park.
Minneapolis Gay Resources
Be aware that several gay bars as well as local restaurants and shops have special events and parties throughout Pride Week. Check local gay papers, such as Lavender Magazine, for details. Also check out the excellent GLBT website produced by the Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association.