40 Years of Pride

By Megan Wadding, October 2017 Issue.

Tucson Pride, the state’s oldest organization of its kind, will celebrate four decades of LGBTQ Pride in Southern Arizona this month.

The annual two-day celebration, including Pride on Parade Sept. 29 and Pride in the Park Sept. 30, promises the festivities attendees know and love combined with many new features and headliners.

“… celebrating our 40th anniversary [is] particularly significant, as we are the first and oldest LGBT[Q] organization in the state,” Sam Cloud, Tucson Pride board’s new vice president. “Forty years is a big deal, and deserves to be the biggest Pride celebration Tucson has ever seen.”

According to Cloud, who took on the role of the Tucson Pride board’s vice-president in January, she is excited to be a part of the organization as it celebrates this milestone anniversary and has big goals for the organization in the coming years.

“Tucson Pride is committed to increasing the organization’s presence in the community and working together with all our incredible community organizations,” Cloud said.

Pride on Parade

The weekend celebration will kick off Sept. 29 with Pride on Parade, a procession of approximately 40 floats that makes its way along downtown Tucson’s Fourth Avenue.

The parade’s grand marshals include Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, with Assistant Chiefs Kevin Hall and Carla Johnson also in attendance.

“Downtown Tucson boasts some of the best nightlife in town,” Cloud said. “[It] is known to be a hot spot for nightlife particularly [for] the LGBTQ community of Tucson. Holding the parade the evening before is a great way to kick off our annual festival.”

Immediately following the parade, Cloud said, an official after-party will take place at Fourth Avenue’s Sky Bar and will feature local entertainers, DJs and drag queens to pump up the crowd.

Pride in the Park

According to Cloud, attendees can expect many new additions, a great line-up of entertainment and as many as 100 vendors, exhibitors and sponsors at Tucson’s 40th annual Pride Festival.

“We have lots of new attractions planned for the festivities this year,’ he said, “including some very exciting headliners, the new dance tent, a kid-friendly zone with children’s activities, vendors and exhibitors, as well as an array of local entertainers performing.”

Lucinda Holliday (aka Larry Moore, pictured left) and Bunny Fufu (aka Mark Fetgatter, pictured right) will cohost the festival’s main stage.

“I love working with a group of fabulous Pride staff, volunteers and entertainers each time I host Pride,” said Fufu, who currently resides in Las Vegas. “I enjoy so many things about Pride. Some standouts are seeing so many friends and family as we come together as a community to celebrate.”

Festival headliners include Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, Daya, the band Berlin featuring Terri Nunn, David Hernandez, a homegrown celebrity (Phoenix native) who appeared on Season 7 of “American Idol,” Fly By Midnight, a retro-pop duo known for their covers and Velo, a solo artist with Tucson ties, who will take the stage for the second consecutive year. (Read Echo’s interview with Velo at phoenix.outvoices.us/velo.)

From left to right: Velo, Fly By Midnight, and Berlin

“We focused on bringing in a little something for everyone with artists who are relevant to the LGBT[Q] community,” Cloud explained, adding that local artists will perform between headliners on the main stage.

New to the festival this year is the dance tent, which will be the home of an all-day dance party.

“The dance tent is one of my favorite additions to this year’s festival,” Cloud said. “We will be featuring rotating DJs throughout the entire event and we have many well-known local DJs lined up, particularly those that frequent our favorite LGBT[Q] nightlife establishments.”

According to Cloud, many LGBTQ community organizations will be on site at the festival offering everything from resources and retail to HIV testing and giveaways.

Based on previous years’ attendance and current ticket sales, festival organizers are expecting approximately 5,000 to descend on Reid Park through the day. But if you can’t make, it, Cloud said, stay tuned for more opportunities to celebrate.

“Our president has set some really exciting goals for the upcoming year,” Cloud said, “including … creating more social opportunities and events throughout the upcoming year.”

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Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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