12 Things To See at Berlin's Pride Parade

Berlin's CSD Parade brings the shock and awe

Berlin's Gay Pride events are a highlight of the city's summer season. Known by the more common name in Europe of Christopher Street Day or simply CSD, there are serious debates (Germans love endless discussion), concerts and after-parties plus the largest CSD Parade in Berlin which attracts some of the largest crowds on the continent. Over 500,000 people gather to dance and celebrate, adorned in fetish gear, elaborate costumes or absolutely nothing at all.

The main parades takes place on Saturday, July 23rd starting around noon. Sure to incite delight, shock and much dancing, here are the top 12 things you can expect to see at the parades.

(The real event can get a little R-Rated, but I'll keep it PG-13 for this clip show. If you get the chance to go - do! Everything is in good fun, even if a little risque, and kids are welcome and present.)

  • 01 of 12

    Parade Buses

    CSD Bus.JPG
    ••• Erin Porter

    Rather than floats, Berlin's CSD parade has buses. Loaded with boozy partiers, political parties or just a party, each bus booms its own electronic and pop jams as a rowdy crowd dances in, on and around the bus. Spectators are welcome to join the group of their choosing with popular vehicles trailing a tail of dancers.

  • 02 of 12

    Siegessäule

    Siegessaeule.jpg
    ••• Siegessäule. Erin Porter

    The city's impressive victory column, dedicated to memories of war and victory, also frequently represents Berlin's gay community. The premier queer online magazine out of Berlin has the same name, Siegessäule, and nude sunbathing in nearby Tiergarten park is particularly enjoyed by the LGBT community. As the endpoint of the parade, the "Chick on the Stick" will be a focal point once again.

  • 03 of 12

    Rainbow Flags

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    ••• Erin Porter

    The ubiquitous rainbow flag will proudly be on display. Bring your own or pick one up at the parade.

  • 04 of 12

    LGBT Protests

    CSD marriage equality protest.JPG
    ••• Erin Porter
    Besides a great party, CSD helps push forward important issues for the entire LGBTQI community. Last year, this meant many displays of support for same-sex marriage around the world as well as critiques of Russia's anti-gay propaganda.
    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Another type of Lederhosen

    Berlin CSD Lederhosen.jpg
    ••• Erin Porter

    English speakers may not realize that Lederhosen simply translates to "leather pants". While the word may conjure up quaint images of Bavarian tracht, Berlin Lederhosen looks a bit different. The pants featured at CSD are often black, tight and in the short shorts variety.

  • 06 of 12

    Freebies!

    CSD hand-outs.JPG
    ••• Freebies!. Erin Porter

    Along with the music pumping out of the buses, freebies are tossed at the adoring crowds. These range from stickers to balloons to condoms to flyers to lighters from the Dildo King. A little something for everyone.

  • 07 of 12

    Elaborate Costumes

    CSD theme-costume.jpg
    ••• Erin Porter

    This is the chance for the freaks to come out during the day and they do not disappoint. From Disney princesses to Wizard of Oz to outfits straight out of a David Bowie/Peaches fantasy...there is no way to predict who will appear, so just prepare to be amazed.

  • 08 of 12

    Near Nudity

    CSD near nudity.JPG
    ••• Erin Porter

    Along with those that put on a wild outfit to stand out are those that are wearing almost nothing at all.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Total Nudity

    CSD painted bodies.jpg
    ••• Erin Porter

    Germans are famously indifferent to nudity. Expect to see some "private parts" come out swinging on CSD.

  • 10 of 12

    Fetish Scenes

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    ••• Erin Porter

    Chains and leather muzzles are rarely seen in the bright light of a June day...except for Berlin's CSD. This particular scene comes complete with Roman chariot powered by human slaves and whip-wielding master.

  • 11 of 12

    Polizei

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    ••• Erin Porter

    The police are out in force like for Erster Mai in Berlin, but the vibe is decidedly different. They peaceably amble along the parade route watching for people out of control and help sweep away the debris of a big glittery gay parade.

  • 12 of 12

    End of the Parade

    CSD end of parade.JPG
    ••• Erin Porter

    Before you know it, the parade has come to an end with the last of the spectator dancers shuffling along behind. In typical German fashion, the clean-up crew is only a few meters behind picking up bottles and sweeping the street.

2016 Berlin CSD Info

Parade Route: Starts on Ku’damm (Höhe Joachimsthaler Straße) and ends at the Brandenburg Gate. Start of the Parade: 12:00 Estimated Finale: 18:00