AUSTIN (KXAN) — For decades, communities across the country have commemorated the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement with pride parades, traditionally held in June. The symbolism of the timeframe dates back to the Stonewall riots in New York City’s Greenwich Village, which began in late June of 1969.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the uprising, the first Pride marches were held on June 28, 1970 in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, growing in prominence in the years since. But why does Austin Pride celebrate its official parade in August?
Why does Austin celebrate its pride parade in August?
Since 2010, The Austin Pride Foundation (TAPF) has organized the city’s official pride parade, in addition to hosting year-round events and working to provide resources to and offer education on issues impacting the city’s LGBTQ+ community.
Micah Andress, president of TAPF, told NPR’s Austin affiliate KUT in 2019 there are three reasons behind an August celebration: a financial component, a logistical aspect and its functionality.
Hosting the parade and related pride festival costs upwards of $100,000, with a combination of funding covered by sponsors, fundraising and ticket sales. To maximize and attract larger crowds of attendees — including those from outside Austin and Texas — as well as more renowned entertainers, he said in 2019 it helped having the festival in August to avoid competition.
August is also, traditionally, a drier month in Central Texas compared to June. As a result, the need for rain insurance and its related costs is more readily avoidable.
As for its volunteer staff, Andress had previously told KUT the festival is largely dependent on college-aged students to assist with running the parade and festival. With institutions like the University of Texas at Austin, St. Edward’s University and Huston-Tillotson University out for summer break in June, August maximizes the number of available student volunteers back in town.
What pride events are held in Austin in June?
That isn’t to say there aren’t other pride events held in the greater Austin area in June.
Both Fourth Street and the Red River Cultural District are home to LGBTQ+ bars and entertainment spaces that host events throughout the month. The Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce will hold its fourth annual Pride in Local Music Festival on June 24, with a planned block party and live music performances held along Fourth Street.
For those looking to attend a pride parade or festival this summer, the following Central Texas communities have festivities planned:
- June 10: Second annual Pflugerville Pride Festival
- June 11-18: Pride of Caldwell County
- June 24: Dripping Springs Pride
- June 24: Taylor Pride
- July 15: Cedar Park and Leander combined pride celebration
And for anyone hoping to participate in Austin Pride this year, the festival and parade are scheduled to be held on Aug. 12. TAPF officials said more than 400,000 attendees participated in last year’s pride celebration.