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Rochester Pride Turns 50: A rundown of Pride events in July 

click to enlarge Rochester Pride Festival 2017. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • Rochester Pride Festival 2017.
Rochester’s annual Pride celebration was a reduced version of itself for the past couple of years, due to both the pandemic and the operational troubles of the Out Alliance, which previously organized the festivities. This month, Pride returns to its former flurry of events spanning two weekends that include the parade, picnic, and festival, but many more Pride-related activities fill the month of July.

This year’s festivities are presented by The ROC Pride Collective, a group of volunteers and organizations, including Trillium Health and Rochester LGBTQ+ Together. The 2022 theme is “Pride in Bloom, Celebrating 50 years of Pride in Rochester.”

If you’ve ever wondered why Rochester celebrates Pride in July — when June is designated as National Pride Month — it’s a simple matter of which came first. Rochester’s Pride celebrations date back to 1972, while Pride month has only been recognized nationally since 1999. June was selected in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, and many other cities hold their individual celebrations in June for the same reason.

In Rochester, July is packed with Pride-related events, and official festivities kick off on July 10, with the annual Pride Picnic featuring a Tara's Reunion Piano Bar with Bob Dietch, games, dancing, and more.

The Pride parade takes place July 16 with the step-off at 1 p.m. from Park Avenue and Alexander Street, and continuing along Park to Brunswick Street. The festival follows the parade at nearby Cobbs Hill Park.

Organizers said this year’s festival entertainment lineup has a local focus, and emphasizes BIPOC and younger drag performers.

“The new generation of drag is very active politically,” said Sam Brett, who has been involved in Pride organizing since 2007 and is also known by his drag identity, Samantha Vega. “And we felt that it was important to include drag queens, drag kings, and also the non-binary performers of drag as well.”

A partial list of Rochester Pride 2022 activities scheduled for July follows. For more information, see rocpridefest.com

click to enlarge Rochester Pride Festival 2013. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • Rochester Pride Festival 2013.

Pop-up Pride Day at the Beach
Saturday, July 2, 1 to 5 p.m. Ontario Beach Park. Dry event.

Third Annual Rochester Summer Pride Comedy & Storytelling Show
Wednesday, July 6, 7:30 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, presented by Queer AF Comedy. 21+, $20.

Pride Celebration Day
Thursday, July 7, 5 to 9 p.m. Memorial Art Gallery. Arts & crafts, sidewalk chalk, free museum admission, a unicorn photo op, drag queen storytime with Vanessa LeRoux, workshop performances by Frazee Feet Dance, and more activities for all-ages. Bring a blanket and snacks to picnic on the lawn. Free, suggested donation of $5 per group. Registration required.

Monroe County Pride Flag Raising Ceremony
Thursday, July 7, Noon. County Office Building, 39 W. Main St.

City of Rochester Pride Flag Raising Ceremony
Friday, July 8, 5 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Manhattan Square.

Pride Party
Saturday, July 9, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. CRISP Rochester, 819 S. Clinton Ave. Drink specials, costume contests, giveaways, and karaoke.

Pop-Up Pride Day at the Seabreeze
Saturday, July 9, noon to 4 p.m. Seabreeze Amusement Park. Admission fee.

ROC'N Rainbow Concert
Saturday, July 9, 7:30 p.m. Allen Main State Theatre at School of the Arts. Rochester Gay Men's Chorus with Rochester Women’s Community Chorus & Flower City Pride Band. $25, $10 for children 12 and under.

2022 Pride Ride by Rochester Rainbow Riders
Sunday, July 10, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Genesee Valley Park. Ages 18+. Pay what you can.

Pride Picnic
Sunday, July 10, noon to 6 p.m. Roundhouse Shelter at Genesee Valley Park. A $5 donation per person is requested, kids under 12 get in free. BYO food and beverages, or purchase from vendors. Throwback entertainment including a Tara's Reunion Piano Bar featuring Bob Dietch. MC Samantha Vega will present a lineup of favorite entertainers including Alicia Michaels and Miss and Mr. Gay Pride. Also featuring tunes by DJ Reign, drag bingo with Vivian Darling, retail vendors, a gift raffle, lawn games, and activities for kids.

click to enlarge Rochester Pride Festival 2017. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • Rochester Pride Festival 2017.
Gay Liberation Front and Todd Union Historic Landmark Celebration
Monday, July 11, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Todd Union Hall, University of Rochester. Hosted by UR in partnership with the Landmark Society of Western NY. 18+.

The Good, the Bad & The Funny
Tuesday, July 12, 7 to 9 p.m. Equal Grounds Coffee House. A Pride Open Mic Night for the Transgender and Gender Expansive Community.

LGBTQ Historic Walking Tour
Tuesday, July 12. By Shoulders to Stand On & The Landmark Society of Western New York. Details TBA.

Rochester Red Wings Pride Night
Wednesday, July 13, 7:05 p.m. (gates open at 6 p.m.). Frontier Field. Tickets start at $13.

ImageOut Pride Film
Thursday, July 14. The Little Theatre. Details TBA.

Juice Box ROC Pride Party
Friday, July 15. Photo City Music Hall. 21+. Details TBA.

Pride Parade
Saturday, July 16, 1 p.m. Step-off at Park Avenue and Alexander Street.

Pride Festival
Saturday, July 16, 1 to 8 p.m. Cobbs Hill Park. Featuring food and beverages, games and activities, vendors, and live entertainment. $5 general admission, $50 VIP admission.

Sole Rehab Pride Party
Saturday, July 16, 9 p.m. Photo City Music Hall. 21+. Details TBA.

Rochester Queer Handmade Yard Sale
Saturday, July 23 through Sunday, July 24. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 30 Shaftsbury Road.

Rochester Black Pride
Friday, July 29 through Sunday, July 31. More information TBA.

Rebecca Rafferty is CITY's life editor. She can be reached at becca@rochester-citynews.com.
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