June 17, 2023
Since 1988, the Grand Rapids Pride Festival has celebrated local LGBTQ+ residents and their contributions to the fabric of our city. Today, it is one of the largest single-day events in the city – bringing LGBTQ+ community members, LGBTQ+ businesses, allies and supportive organizations together for a day of diversity, inclusion, fellowship and fun.
The theme for this year’s festival is “Unapologetically Me, 2023!,” encouraging community members to be – and celebrate – exactly who they are. The event will take place on Calder Plaza from noon to 10pm on June 17. All-day entertainment includes headliner Robin S., a house music icon and long-time LGBTQ+ ally and advocate. More entertainment acts will be announced in the days to come.
There will also be a dedicated children and family area, food court, beer tent, vendor booths and more, all coming together to create a safe, open and welcoming environment for every member of the LBGTQ+ community to be who they are, without apologies. Come join the most fabulous celebration of the year – admission is free!
The Pride Festival is organized by the Grand Rapids Pride Center, the area’s most comprehensive resource for LGBTQ+ individuals. The Center also offers a slate of special programming throughout June.
Other Area Pride Festivals
Lowell Pride takes place on the banks of the beautiful Flat River in downtown Lowell, about 20 minutes from downtown GR. Expect a dedicated kids area, vendors, a pride walk, drag performance, inspiration from keynote speaker Graci Harkema and more. June 3.
The Muskegon Pride Festival is an all-day street party featuring 100+ vendors, live music, drag performances, poetry and children’s activities. June 3.
The first-ever Grand Haven Pride Festival takes place at Waterfront Stadium on June 10
The Holland Pride Festival celebrates its 20th year with music and dancing, a family and kids’ area, food trucks, games and more. At Centennial Park June 24.
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Grand Rapids is home to many locally owned and operated LGBTQIA+ businesses. The city is now a destination to live and work for people of all ages and identities as more inclusive businesses open within walking distance of the urban core. You’ll notice many bars, restaurants, and businesses…
Beyond the Festivals
West Michigan invites you to celebrate Pride with additional special events throughout June:
Outside Coffee Co. kicks off Pride Month with Take Pride Outside, which begins with a run led by local activist/coach Sammie Bennett or a walk with the Queer Dog Walking Club (no dog required). Hang out in the coffee garden afterwards! June 1.
Michigan Drag Brunch presents Queen O’Clock Pride, a drag performance at downtown’s House of Wine, on June 2.
The DAAC presents Drag Queen Bingo! hosted by DeeDee Chaunte the evening of June 2, then a PRIDE Market from 11am-3pm on June 3, with art from LGBTQ+ and queer-friendly creators, live music from local LGBTQ+ musicians, a bake sale and more.
The West Michigan Whitecaps host Pride Night at LMCU Ballpark on June 8. You can purchase a special Pride Night ticket package that includes a Whitecaps Pride hat and a portion of the proceeds go to the Grand Rapids Pride Center. Stick around for a post-game fireworks show.
Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue is an all-new parody of the classic TV show starring male actors as the iconic characters Blanche, Sophia, Dorothy and Rose. At DeVos Performance Hall June 8 & 9.
The GR Pride Tour walks you through the streets of downtown GR and shares both light-hearted and heavy-hitting stories of local 2SLGBTQ+ history. Participants may enjoy to-go drinks from approved establishments along the route. June 10.
The 6th Annual Pride Bar Crawl kicks off at Rumors Night Club the afternoon of June 10, then proceeds to six additional downtown bars/restaurants before settling in for an afterparty at Flanagan’s Irish Pub. Along the way, there are drink & food specials, a drag show, professional photographers to record the action, and more.
Creston Brewery is the site of the LGBTQ Wedding Expo, bringing together wedding boutiques, florists, DJs, planners, bakeries and other local vendors you need to plan your big day. June 11.
ArtRat Gallery hosts An Afternoon with Hearth & Hymn, a folk duo that reimagines songs that move them through a queer, feminist lens. June 11.
Culinary Conversations: LGBTQ+ Voices in West Michigan Food & Beverage features speakers from four local LGBTQ+-owned businesses: Basalt GR, Lotus Brew, Da Boils and Guardian Brewing Co. At the Grand Rapids Downtown Market June 14.
Karlesque presents Gay AF!, a karaoke/burlesque mashup at Fulton Street Pub to raise money for the Grand Rapids Trans Foundation. June 14.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church hosts a Community Concert with Spencer LaJoye, a folk/pop singer songwriter, violinist and vocal loop artist who is also “a queer person in recovery from American Christian evangelicalism.” June 15.
The Pride Poetry Open Mic and Drop Party at Courage & Soar features poetry, prose, face painting, refreshments and a new product drop from the downtown lifestyle & home boutique. June 15.
The Apartment Lounge, Michigan’s longest-running LGBTQ+ bar, takes over “Rainbow Road”– aka Sheldon Avenue, right outside The Apartment’s front door – for its annual outdoor Block Party on June 18.
You can also celebrate Pride by patronizing these locally owned and operated LGBTQ+ businesses – in June and throughout the year!
Plan Your Stay
June is a great time to visit Grand Rapids. Why not turn your trip to the Pride Festival into a mini-vacation? Take a look at the wide range of hotels options available. Looking for something cozier? Our Bed and Breakfasts will not disappoint. Do you love the outdoors? Then check out our campgrounds.
History of Grand Rapids Pride Festival
The first Grand Rapids Pride Festival took place on June 19th, 1988. It was organized by a group of local residents who had attended the March on Washington for Lesbian Gay Rights on October 11, 1987. They wanted to bring the sense of pride, security and belonging they experienced in the nation's capital to the LGBTQ community of West Michigan.
That first festival was hosted in the metaphorical heart of Grand Rapids – the Monroe Amphitheater (now Rosa Parks Circle) – a rightful place for a community that contributes so much to the city’s vibrancy and creativity.
The Pride Festival has grown in size and scale over the years and is now held in Calder Plaza, which can accommodate the dazzling lineup of local and national entertainers, 100+ vendors, and thousands of attendees that flock downtown to celebrate diversity and inclusion each year.
Grand Rapids Pride Center
The Pride Festival is a program of the Grand Rapids Pride Center, which empowers the local LBGTQ community through supportive services and awareness. The Pride Festival helps generate funds to further the Center’s invaluable work.