Cedar Rapids PrideFest has been canceled

Drag queens wow at the 2017 Cedar Rapids Pride Festival outside NewBo City Market. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Cedar Rapids’ PrideFest will not take place on July 11, the CRPride Board of Directors announced Sunday. “Uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic” has led the organization to cancel all of its in-person Pride events this summer, according to a written statement.

The news comes almost a week after Iowa City Pride announced it was canceling its 2020 festivities, scheduled for June 19 and 20. In their statement, CRPride said they were “hopeful” the COVID-19 situation would be safe enough by mid-July to continue as planned, but ultimately decided to cancel.

“We explored every possible scenario to still hold this year’s celebration but in the end, everyone’s health and safety must come first,” CRPride President Jennifer Tibbetts said.

Linn County has the third-highest number of confirmed cases in Iowa, with 573 residents testing positive for COVID-19, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Linn has also had more residents die from the virus — 34 — than any other county. Iowa’s first COVID-19 peak is expected to arrive in mid-May, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommends states wait at least 14 days after the peak to reopen businesses and permit public gatherings.

CRPride said they plan to organize virtual Pride events in June, and encourage locals to participate in the online Global Pride event on June 27.

Capitol City Pride in Des Moines is more optimistic about the future: the organization has chosen to carry on, postponing their Pride Week and Festival until mid-July with the hopes large gatherings will be safe. Key City Pride in Dubuque and Quad Cities PrideFest have canceled their 2020 programming.

CRPride recommends anyone feeling isolated or struggling during the pandemic to browse a list of resources from One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization.

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