June may be Pride Month, but October is LGBTQ+ History Month — an appropriate enough occasion for the 50th Iowa City Pride Festival, postponed 15 months due to COVID-19.
Last Friday, Iowa City Pride shared the official lineup for their 2021 fest, taking place Oct. 1 and 2. Besides the shift to a fall date — Iowa City Pride typically hosts their annual event in mid-June, but canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and delayed the 2021 fest in order to allow more time for people to be vaccinated — the biggest change to Pride Fest tradition will be the lack of a parade. Instead, Iowa City Pride is planning a community march for noon on Saturday, Oct. 2.
“Saturday Oct. 2nd we kick off the day with our Unity March, honoring the The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979 starting at College Green Park and ending in front of our main stage at Linn and Washington,” according to Iowa City Pride.
The organization is also taking precautions against community spread of COVID-19, the Delta variant of which has become ubiquitous across Iowa.
The number of vendors participating in the festival’s vendor fair has been reduced to better allow for social distancing, and all performances will be on the outdoor stage located on Linn Street near Studio 13. (Traditionally, some Iowa City Pride Festival programming has taken place inside Studio 13, the Englert Theatre and other downtown venues.)
“Masks are highly encouraged to be worn by everyone even when outside, we will have hand sanitizer through out the festival for you to use,” Iowa City Pride posted to Facebook. “Please practice as much social distancing as possible. If you are feeling sick, please stay home.”
Friday, Oct. 3
4-9 p.m. — Downtown Vendor Fair
Saturday, Oct. 2
12-9 p.m. — Downtown Vendor Fair
12-2 p.m. — Drag Brunch at Vue Rooftop
An interactive brunch-and-a-show event featuring five drag queens. Seating limited.
1-1:15 p.m. — The Quire of Eastern Iowa
A nonprofit LGBTQ choir founded in 1995 and open to all.
1:15-1:30 p.m. — End of the Rainbow – Revival Theatre Company
The cast of End of the Rainbow, a “bitterly sweet, funny drama about the final years in the life of Judy Garland,” will perform.
1:30-2 p.m. — Draglings
Young drag artists, mentored by their older counterparts, hit the runway.
2:15-3 p.m. — Two-Bit Maniac
Vocalist Aimee Underwood, guitarist Jeff Roush and percussionist and bassist Laurie Haag play crowd-pleasing rock, blues and jazz covers.
3-4 p.m. — Pride Royalty
4:15-5 p.m. — Death Kill Overdrive
A four-piece Iowa City rock band.
5-6 p.m. — I.C. Kings
Iowa City’s award-winning drag king troupe.
6-6:30 p.m. — Bawdy Bawdy Ha Ha
An eastern Iowa group that performs burlesque and vaudevillian-style shows.
6:45-7:30 p.m. — The Finesse
An Iowa band performing the soulful sounds of the Heartland.
7:30-8:30 p.m. — Studio 13 Queens
The resident drag queens from Iowa City’s only gay club take the stage.
8:30-9:30 p.m. — Robin S and Ce Ce Peniston
Two ’90s techno divas known as the mothers of house music turn up the party in Iowa City.
All Iowa City Pride events are free, with the exception of the drag brunch at Vue Rooftop Saturday. Table reservations for the noon brunch can be purchased online.
A comment from Danny Vaulter on the Iowa City Pride Facebook page highlighted the progress made over the past 50 years of Pride in the city:
On 5 May 1973 the closest thing we had to pride was a Stonewall Anniversary dance held by the the Gay Liberation Front. Beer was provided on a free will offering basis but if you were known to be poor no offering was expected. That dance was raided by 17 law enforcement officers and two men were arrested and jailed on the false charge of bootlegging. That doesn’t happen anymore because of the work of gay activists. That is in part, a very large part of what we have to be proud about.