6 Tips for Attending Milwaukee’s PrideFest

Wear your rainbow colors at PrideFest, June 9-11. Here’s what you need to know.

The dance pavilion is a must.

Typically held inside the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage, which can host about 6,000 dancers, the Dance Pavilion is a nonstop party with international DJs, drag performers and all manner of special effects. “I’ve seen everything from wedding proposals,” says regular attender (and New Yorker) Gloria Buchalter, “to someone in a shark costume driving a mini dump truck across the stage.”

Talk to strangers.

“I’ve made countless new friends every year just by walking up to people and introducing myself,” says Buchalter. “It’s that easy.” If that sounds too forward for you, festival regular Corky Morgan recommends hunkering down at one of the beer tents to chitchat and people-watch.

Look beyond the headliners.

Australian pop starlet Betty Who kicks off PrideFest on Friday, June 9. After that, Buchalter recommends sitting down and reading through your program guide covering Pride’s eight stages. If you want a good seat, arrive about an hour early.

Expect the unexpected.

As a visitor, you may “see or come across something outside of your comfort zones,” says Morgan, a singer who has performed at the fest. Even though attendees share a common bond in LGBT identification, “we are diverse – young, old, outlandish, shy, outspoken, reserved, trans-whichever, proudly out, closeted, religious or not, free-spirited, structured. And we should acknowledge and respect each other.”

Remember, the restrooms are unisex.

Buchalter says that no matter what, “Don’t assume someone is in the wrong bathroom. PrideFest has an inclusive restroom policy, which means guests can use whoever restroom they want, and there is zero tolerance for harassment.”

Let the protesters protest.

Don’t engage with the protesters you may see at the main gate, Morgan advises. “Give the protesters a break. Show love and respect to them and most will do the same to you.”

Milwaukee Pride Parade

When: Sunday, June 11; 2 p.m.
Where: Starts at Second Street and Greenfield Avenue
More Information: prideparademke.org

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14 Weekends of Summer Fun: Milwaukee

‘Be Loud and Proud’ appears in the June 2017 (City Guide) issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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