Kick off CR PrideFest with a bike ride and some laughs

Photo by Karen Desuyo

Cedar Rapid’s Pride festival is blowing up this year with a full week of events from Sunday, July 2 through Sunday, July 9. Saturday’s main event, CR PrideFest, outgrew its former location and will expand to NewBo City Market.

“We have had such incredible outreach from individuals and companies in the community that we have acquired all available space at Newbo,” said organizer Jen Rowray. “We were able to schedule events for all likes and tastes with the help of volunteers.”

New on the schedule this year will be a reading by author Joseph Cassara and a brunch at Belle’s Basix, Cedar Rapids’ only gay bar.

Volunteers will paint the town in rainbow colors this weekend with Pride flags, fliers and Pride Guides containing a listing of events. Read on for more information about the festivities ahead.

Cedar Rapids Pride Ride/Pulse Nightclub Memorial Ride

NewBo City Market (1100 3rd St SE) — Sunday, July 2 at 11 a.m.

CR PrideFest gets rolling with a community bike ride organized by TransAmerica employees, to honor the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Throw on some rainbow duds (and a helmet!) and take off from New Bo Market heading south on the bike trail. All ages and ability levels are welcome — advanced riders will continue all the way to Ely but others can go as far as they like.

CR PrideFest Fundraiser Featuring Comedian DJX

CSPS Hall (1103 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids) — Sunday, July 2 at 7 p.m.

Cedar Rapids native DJX makes a stop at CSPS Hall before hitting the road for a cross-country tour. DJX’s comedy stylings provide both laughs and a positive message. There will be a cash bar; Tickets to the show are $11.48 and can be purchased online to help raise money for CR PrideFest.

Pride Pop-Up at Pub 217

Pub 217 (217 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids) — Monday, July 3 at 5:30 p.m.

Mingle with new friends and business contacts at this social mixer hosted by Corridor Out Professionals, CR PrideFest and Pub 217 owners Jason and Jessica Nanke. Corridor Out Professionals provides networking events for the local LGBTQ+ community. The event is free and food and drink will be available for purchase.

Cedar Rapids Public Library. — photo by Louis

Legacies: LGBTQ

Whipple Auditorium, Cedar Rapids Public Library — Wednesday, July 5 at 6 p.m.

Explore someone else’s perspective with this series of 10 minute presentations about present and future legacies in the LGBTQ+ community. Jen Rowray’s talk will examine the local history of Pride, Aaron Murphy will discuss finding “home” in Iowa, Mitchell Grauberger will speak about living with mental illness as a trans person and Nic Vaske will talk about unity. This event will be hosted by the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission and the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

Pride Art Exhibit at CSPS

CSPS (1103 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids) — Thursday, July 6 at 5 p.m.

Take a look at work from Milwaukee’s Kayle Karbowski and Des Moines’ Rob Stephens at this free public reception at CSPS.

Book Reading — New Author Joseph Cassara

Next Page Books (1105 Third Street SE, Cedar Rapids) — Thursday, July 6 at 7 p.m.

Joseph Cassara reads from his novel The House of Impossible Beauties, due for publication in 2018. The book takes place in ’80s and ’90s New York City, featuring gay and transgender club kids coming of age within Harlem’s ball culture. Seventeen-year-old Angel and her boyfriend Hector create the House of Xtravaganza, the first all-Latino house in that scene (and a real place depicted in the documentary Paris is Burning.) The characters confront addiction, trauma and loss with a resilience born of love, determination and solidarity. Copies can be pre-ordered at the event.

Pride Night with the Cedar Rapids Kernels

Veterans Memorial Stadium (950 Rockford Rd SW, Cedar Rapids) — Friday, July 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Cheer on the Kernels against the Peoria Chiefs for just $8. First 1,000 fans get a free Iowa State University cap, and there will be a silent auction for the Kernels/ISU jerseys that Kernels players will wear during the game. Call (319) 896-7560 to reserve tickets or order them online, and request section 109.

Time to taste some beer!
Cedar Rapids’ NewBo City Market — photo by Jennifer-Pickar

CR PrideFest

NewBo City Market (1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids) — Saturday, July 8 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Check out the main event at NewBo City Market, featuring kids activities like a bouncy house, balloon artist, magician and face painter, plus live music, speakers, dancing and drag on stage. Nearly 70 local vendors will be in attendance.


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CRPrideFest Sunday Brunch

Belle’s Basix (3916 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids) — Sunday, July 9 at 11 a.m.

Recover from the festivities with Bloody Marys and mimosas, save some cash with Belle’s’ drink specials and brunch your way into the afternoon to the tunes of DJ Lady J. This event is open to those 21 and over.

Did we miss something? Feel free to comment below with additional PrideFest-related events!

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