It’s true that many LGBTQ people flock to the coasts—after all, who doesn’t love L.A. sunshine and New York grit? But not everyone is a city girl, and, luckily, this year’s historic pride celebrations are happening all over the world. Some of the locations are surprisingly gay cities where residents are banding together to show serious support for queer communities and celebrate diversity.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Known as the “gay capital of Arkansas,” residents live “diverse every day.” Pride season is no different, with a summer Diversity Festival taking center stage. Festivities will include art shows, meet and greets, Diversity in the park, bingo, vendors, organizations, live music, educational programs, and drag shows.
If you’re looking for a historic place to celebrate pride, Augusta has you covered. Augusta Pride is an annual weekend festival designed to promote visibility and pride and to provide cultural unity and diversity education for queer communities in Augusta. This year’s festivities kick-off on Friday, June 21 with “Beats on Broad” and continue through the weekend with both the parade and festival taking place on Saturday, June 22nd. This year’s party is slated to be bigger than ever in celebration of the Augusta Pride’s 10-year anniversary.
Mike Pence’s hometown threw its first Pride Celebration last year. Festivities will continue this year with the Columbus Pride Festival, which will feature local vendors and entertainment. The festival bills itself as “[m]ore than just a celebration of love, diversity, and inclusion, the Columbus Pride Festival represents the strength, resilience, and courage of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies,” all in the heart of Indiana.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City may be thought of as a conservative place, but it has a sizeable LGTBQ population and a Pride festival to match. With an estimated attendance of 35,000 people, the Pride Days festival includes marches and rallies, interfaith religious services, and a parade.
Small cities can punch above their weight when it comes to Pride. Another city that only saw its first Pride in 2018 was back again this year with an early Pride celebration that featured a queer art market, cultural movie screenings, and a big parade in the small town.