The Board of Directors for Iowa City Pride has decided to cancel the 2020 Pride Festival and Parade, they announced Monday.
“The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified in recent weeks, and the organization has concluded that the risk to public health of a large-scale gathering such as Pride preclude this year’s production of the annual event,” Iowa City Pride said in a press release.
The 2020 festivities, originally scheduled for June 19 and 20, would have celebrated the 50th anniversary of LGBTQ+ visibility in Iowa City — specifically, when a group of LGBTQ University of Iowa students marched in the 1970 Homecoming Parade, setting the stage for Iowa City’s own Pride organization.
Iowa City Pride said they still intend to participate in the 2020 UI Homecoming Parade this fall, as well as the virtual Global Pride celebrations taking shape on June 27.
Iowa City Pride President Anthony Sivanthaphanith said the decision to cancel their parade and festival (which saw record turnout in 2019), “did not come lightly,” particularly since the community needs fun and solidarity more than ever, after weeks of social distancing.
“Many conversations with city officials, other large events and healthcare professionals led to our decision,” he said. “We know this comes with many disappointments, cancelled plans and one less thing to look forward to. It breaks my heart and the board’s heart as well.”
“Pride is more than ‘June,'” he added, “it is something we can celebrate every day.”
Iowa City Pride will mark its 50th anniversary in 2021 instead, and automatically rollover current sponsors and vendors into next year.
With the threat of COVID-19 still far more prevalent in the United States than any other nation, pride events from New York City to San Francisco have been called off. Key City Pride in Dubuque and Quad Cities PrideFest have also been canceled. Cedar Rapids Pride Festival and Capital City Pride in Des Moines, who typically hold their pride events in July, and Cedar Valley PrideFest in August have not announced any cancellations as of April 20.