The 44th annual Seattle Pride Parade (June 24, 11 a.m.‒2 p.m.; starting downtown at the corner of Fourth and Union; seattlepride.org) is the biggest draw of the Seattle Pride Festival’s weekend of events. As part of one of the largest, longest-running festivals of its kind, the parade attracts thousands of participants and onlookers.
Seattle magazine contributors and Pride veterans Gavin Borchert and Andrew Hoge, along with Seattle’s own two-time RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, Ben DeLaCreme, offer tips on how to best behold this celebration of unity, togetherness and free-spirited fun.
1. Arrive with an open mind. “Remember that it’s our differences that make ours such an incredible community,” says DeLaCreme. Whether you are in the gay community or an ally, all who are respectful of others and prepared to see “drag queens and naked bike riders” are welcome, adds Hoge.
2. Check your expectations. “The parade is more an expression of solidarity than spectacle. Think Boeing Employees Credit Union in matching polos rather than showgirls in gold lamé,” says Borchert. As for what spectators should wear, you could go with rainbow stripes, or “leather chaps, unicorn horns, garbage bags—it’s all fair game,” says DeLaCreme.
3. Don’t drive. Parking will be sparse along the parade route, especially in Belltown. Walk if you can. Otherwise, take public transportation or ride a bike. If you do drive, plan to park in a nearby neighborhood and take the bus. “Uber can be crazy expensive,” notes Hoge.
4. Have a strategy. The parade can last a few hours, so plan ahead. “If you bring a chair, think about what you’re going to do with it when the parade is over,” says Borchert. Consider the weather—and how long the day will be—when you dress (how comfortable will those stilettos be?). Don’t forget sunscreen, water and snacks. “And don’t get in the way of the Dykes on Bikes!” Borchert says of this popular parade feature.
5. Be ready to learn. “Many community organizations set up after the parade around the Seattle Center where the parade ends; there are opportunities for newbies (and oldies) to find out about ways to support the community,” says Hoge. Adds DeLaCreme, “There’s always a chance to learn, because LGBTQ+ is always growing and expanding.”
6. Check out Pride’s satellite events. “The block parties are insanely fun, the most popular being the Cuff Block Party on Sunday afternoon,” says Hoge. Also look for Capitol Hill restaurants, such as Julia’s on Broadway, that have special Pride-themed events, such as a drag brunch.