PrideFest will return to Henry Maier Festival Park for its 25th year this June after a two-year hiatus. Milwaukee Pride Inc. announced Tuesday that Wisconsin’s largest LGBTQ+ event will be kicking off Milwaukee’s festival season, running for three days, June 2-4.
“It’s time to push forward and bring back the events and community functions that make Milwaukee so special; celebrating people is something this city does better than anywhere else,” said Wes Shaver, President of Milwaukee Pride, Inc., in a release. “Let’s get back to strengthening our social fabric and raising a glass together!”
The festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 challenges lead to the emergence of a new event, PridetoberFest in October of 2021. The fall celebration was used as an outlet to celebrate pride, reassemble the festival production team and start recruiting volunteers.
PrideFest has been reimagined this June in comparison to the past 24 years. While there will be familiar staples, such as drag shows, entertainers, DJs and a firework show, the footprint of the festival grounds has changed. The park will be open further north this year, including new stages, food vendor buildings, an expanded Health & Wellness area and children’s & family programming.
In celebration of the 25th June Festival, organizers are planning a “Throwback Thursday” lineup. The celebration will feature acts from the ‘90s, along with more ways to celebrate the event’s past and 1996 move to the park.
The Thursday program will include entry promotions, and nostalgic discount drink pricing during hours of operation. Between the hours of 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, guests can bring four canned non-perishable food items for admission as an homage to the $4 festival ticket price in 1996. Between 4-8 p.m., there will be a happy hour that includes retro pricing on drinks.
Organizers will announce acts, programming and online ticket sales in the weeks to come.