View a photo gallery of the festival below.
The annual Pride Festival took place in Wingfield park on Saturday. The events started with an 11 a.m. parade, which was filled from beginning to end with participants. Those in the parade were as diverse as they were numerous.
A variety of pro-LGBTQ+ community religious groups, Jewish, Lutheran, and Buddhist, just to name a few, participated. Some groups took a very humorous approach to the parade including the Good Luck Macbeth Theater Company which chanted: “We’re here. We’re thespians. Get used to it!”
Others were parties on the move including two steampunk-style Viking ships, one carrying Reno’s mayor, which provided music to the crowd as both its riders and parade viewers danced. A few groups took on a drastically more serious look. One group wore white cloth patches reading out, “Pride is Politics.” Their chants were of a serious nature, a few acting as pallbearers to a mock coffin draped with the pride flag. A section of cheerleading also performed aerial moves to the crowd’s adulation, considering the 90-degrees-plus temperature, they deserved every clap and whistle they received.
As the parade ended at Wingfield Park participants and viewers emptied into the park and a sea of pride flags. The temperature stayed above 90 degrees throughout most of the day, but this was mitigated by the Truckee River, vendors selling snow cones and frozen drinks, and a flower-shaped mister.
People gathered closely on the grass in front of the stage to hear Reno mayor, Hillary Schieve, speak to the crowd. She brought forward a young woman who she called a future Reno mayor, together they read aloud a proclamation for the day. A representative for Senator Catherine Cortez Masto took the stage and voiced the senator’s support for the event. With that, the Reno Gay Men’s Choir took the stage singing, among other songs, “YMCA” by the Village People.
The MC, Stephanie Nicole Le Dream, announced upcoming performances. In full drag, she explained that this year more groups wanted to perform than ever before and that event was extended until 7 p.m. The crowd fluctuated throughout the day depending on the heat and the performer on stage. Acts varied from traditional Mexican dancing to solo musicians, club dancing, bands and other performances. With the Truckee River now at a safe level to swim in, people jumped between the river and the event.
I spoke with Troy Perkins of Reno Pride Sports about their involvement in the Reno community. Originally from Vegas he explained his efforts to create pride sports teams in the Reno area. He said that their first meeting two years ago they had three attendees, but now they have over 100 members and are looking to grow. They compete in softball, kickball, volleyball, and dodgeball. Their goal is to get four full-time gay softball teams that can compete in national tournaments.
One of the largest participants was Tesla, which had a pride-themed car in both the parade and on festival grounds. Their representatives declined interviews, and the only information I was able to ascertain is that the Pride festival reached out to them, to which they seemed to have been very responsive.
La Dream has become a central figure in the event as the MC. She works well with the crowd and handles occasionally disruptive crowd members. Wearing competitive bicyclist attire, she explain that last year she rode over 500 miles from San Francisco to LA in an effort to raise money for fighting AIDS. The crowd both applauded. She will be doing it again and encouraged members of the audience to see her Instagram account where they can the link to a donation page for next year’s ride.
The Reno pride festival is growing every year, and this one might have been the best with more performances on stage, food trucks, and great booths that sold everything from soda to custom made art and anything else you can imagine.