ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Rochester Pride nearly doubles turnout after hiatus

The first LGBTQ festival since 2019 drew a large crowd Saturday.

Rochester Pride 2022
Attendees of Rochester Pride listen to the band Hair of the Dog in Soldiers Field Park on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bullet
We are part of The Trust Project.

ROCHESTER — Rochester Pride organizers said they hoped up to 1,000 would attend this year’s return of the event.

On Saturday they got that and 50% more, according to early crowd estimates.

Read more from John
Charles Jackson is bringing the Rochester-based bear to provide relief in Texas before undergoing medical treatment himself.
The newest Minnesota backpacking trail could be in your backyard.
Reduction printing offers little room for error and Scott Cheek prefers it that way.

“It was wildly successful from our perspective,” said Julie Winters, Rochester Pride board member on Sunday.

An estimated 1,500 people attended the fest celebrating gender-identity and sexual-orientation minority communities and their allies Saturday at Soldier’s Field Park. It drew nearly double the crowd that attended Rochester Pride in 2019 — the last time the event was held.

About 800 people attended the inaugural Rochester Pride in 2019. That was after the former Rochester Pridefest was canceled in 2018.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rochester Pride 2022
Alex Buresh has their face painted during Rochester Pride in Soldiers Field Park on Saturday, May 21, 2022. "The vibe has been really good, really fun and care free," Buresh said. "For Rochester a lot of people are here."
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bullet

Two and a half years off due to COVID-19 didn’t kill the new group’s momentum, Winters said. It likely helped people appreciate an opportunity to celebrate, she added.

“I think maybe there was a sense of longing for the LGBTQ community to get together and celebrate what makes us special, what makes us unique and what we have in common as well,” Winters said.

The work of a board of 12 volunteers, 25 event volunteers and about 500 volunteer hours of planning paid off big Saturday.

Bella McAtee said she was glad to see the large turnout. She attended the former Rochester Pridefest but stopped after 2015. This year, McAtee brought her 5-year-old daughter, Yarah McAtee, and friends Abi Miller and Susannah Prewitt, both of St. Paul, to the event. McAtee said she was glad her daughter could see so much involvement and support for the LGBTQ community.

This year’s Rochester Pride was scheduled an hour longer than 2019, had one additional musical act, and 10 more vendors with a total of 80 booths.

Rochester Pride 2022
Miss Anita Tiara, an MC at pride, announces the band Hair of the Dog at Rochester Pride in Soldiers Field Park on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bullet

However, given the long lines for food vendors, that’s an area that probably could have been expanded too, Winters said.

Both beer vendors South by Southeast and Little Thistle each had to restock kegs from their respective breweries.

“People show up hungry and thirsty,” Winters said, adding next year’s event will have more food trucks and vendors.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We probably forgot how things work after two years,” Winters joked.

Winters said they plan to add more featured LGBTQ artist booths next year too.

“We’re running out of space, but I think we have room for a few more,” she said.

Rochester Pride 2022
Mayor Kim Norton is embraced by a pride attendee after she gave a speech during Rochester Pride in Soldiers Field Park on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bullet
Rochester Pride 2022
A pride flag hangs on a booth in Soldiers Field Park during Rochester Pride on Saturday, May, 21, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bullet
Rochester Pride 2022
Bridget Lamke plays giant jenga with some friends in Soldiers Field Park during Rochester Pride on Saturday, May 21, 2022. "I enjoyed the tents and though a lot of the artists were great," Lamke said. "I love to see the younger community coming out as well."
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bullet

Related Topics: ROCHESTER
John Molseed joined the Post Bulletin in 2018. He covers arts, culture, entertainment, nature and other fun stories he's surprised he gets paid to cover. When he's not writing articles about Southeast Minnesota artists and musicians, he's either picking banjo, brewing beer, biking or looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter "b." Readers can reach John at 507-285-7713 or jmolseed@postbulletin.com.
What to read next
Live music, food trucks, and fireworks to celebrate July 4th at Soldiers Field Park.
Rally attendants held signs and chanted in protest of the recent Supreme Court ruling which over-turned Roe v. Wade in Rochester on July 4.
View photos of the Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade in Blooming Prairie.
Minnesota Rush, the indoor sports complex at 380 Woodlake Drive SE, filed a development plan with the city of Rochester for an 18,000-square-square-foot addition to the 15-year-old complex. The proposed plan would double the size of the building.