With origins tracing back to the 1969 Stonewall riots, Pride Month is an annual tradition where members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies come together to celebrate their diverse identities, commemorate the history of the social movement, and continue advocating for LGBTQ+ equality. Throughout the month of June, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, will be flooded with rainbow-clad crowds attending parades, festivals, and other events that celebrate the occasion. Here are a few of the must-see happenings for this Pride Month.
The Capital Pride Alliance, a nonprofit that serves the LGBTQ+ people of Washington, DC, puts on an annual pride celebration in June. Events like the Pride Parade (June 10) and the Pride Festival and Concert (June 11) will attract thousands of visitors with food, performances by Debbie Gibson and Shanice, and a whole lot of community connection. And big things are ahead. Capital Pride Alliance has announced that DC will host the 2025 WorldPride, an international celebration. Multiple locations, parade and festival are free, other event prices vary
Loudoun’s 2023 Pride Festival celebrates the 20-year anniversary of Equality Loudoun, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for the county’s LGBTQ+ residents, with a theme of “Across the Decades.” Stop by the Rainbow Stage to hear live music inspired by the ’80s and ’90s and watch the “Dragstravaganza.” Visit the many vendors, the beer and wine garden, or the family-fun activities like button making and face painting. Claude Moore Park: 21544 Old Vestals Gap Rd., Sterling, $5
The Washington Blade, an LGBTQ+ newspaper in DC, hosts a pride celebration at The Wharf, complete with a DJ and dancing. Don’t miss the showstopping fireworks, presented by the Leonard-Litz LGBTQ+ Foundation. They light up the sky at 9 p.m. The Wharf: 101 District Sq. SW, Washington, DC, free–$125
After the inaugural Arlington Pride Festival drew over 3,000 visitors in 2022, the organizers decided to go even bigger. This year, it will span the course of three days with events even beyond the festival, including an after-party, the first-ever Miss Arlington Pride Drag Pageant, and a drag brunch. Locations vary, festival is free, other event prices vary
The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts holds a two-day music festival full of LGBTQ+ artists and allies. Brandi Carlile will headline both days; other notable performers include singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright and indie pop band Lucius. 1645 Trap Rd., Vienna, $75–$345
Feature image by KC Felzner for Capital Pride
This story originally ran in our June issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to Northern Virginia Magazine.