Broadway filled up early Saturday afternoon with an array of colorful festival goers and pets alike. Several vendors were decorating attendees with face painting and spreading the love with rainbow beads. The Capitol Hill Pride Festival was in full swing, rain or shine, of course. There was not one person without a smile on their face.
Despite the brief spit of rain in the afternoon, the street fair carried on with multiple businesses exhibiting apparel and jewelry along the roadside stretch. Many restaurants and bars including La Cocina, Witness, and Pinto Bistro opened up their patio seating to attendees to enjoy for the lunch rush. Corretto, an Italian bistro, offered takers to tackle a “cock luge” challenge, in which Bacardi was poured down through a penis shaped bong apparently made of ice.
How do you sum up a day at the Pride festival? “It’s pretty gay,” one attendee joked. A couple of first-timers at the festival mentioned the volunteers with the best lines were the merry few handing out stickers with the logo “We Heart Gay Love.”
“They would smile and offer a gay love sticker, and it’s great because no one would deny them…why wouldn’t you take their love?” another attendee joked.
At the intersection of Harrison Street and Republican Street, the main stage held acts throughout the day from several local performance groups. There was traditional Japanese dance performance by the Samurai Noodle Girls, as well as characters performing renditions from the musical “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
But Toto wasn’t the only pup on the street Saturday. One of most popular events was the Doggie Drag Costume Contest that benefited the Seattle Humane Society Pet Project.
“Earlier, between 10 and 11, there were a lot more dogs around for the Doggy Drag Show,” said a fair attendee. “There was even one that was dressed as a leather daddy,” she said.
What’s unique about the Capitol Hill Pride Festival is that everyone is welcome. Not only LGBTQ, but many, out of curiosity, will travel out of their way to experience one of the country’s largest Pride festivals and Seattle’s hospitable environment. This is a weekend where the so-called “Seattle Freeze” takes a vacation.
“I even got hit on by a couple of straight girls,” said a flattered female attendee.
Down the block, Cal Anderson Park had its own festivities. The second annual PrideFest Family Day was in full swing from early afternoon until dusk. PrideFest Producer, Egan Orion instigated Family Day in 2013 as a way to include youth and their families in the Pride festivities. The free event had a positive response and featured various party games including a water balloon toss contest, Drag Queen story time, as well as a purple bearded guy by the name of Garry Golightly, aka “Bubble Man”, who had the kids screaming for outlandish bubble performance art.
Just south of the Family Day area, the Cal playfields also hosted a prom dress rugby match, where all the males participated in showing off their best prom gowns.
“This is the second year for Family Day, and it’s had a great response,” said PrideFest Producer Egan Orion. “It’s possible in coordination with Trans*Pride, and we’re also working with the Dyke March to put it on,” said Orion.
Trans*Pride celebrates the transgender community. The Trans* Pride March route took place on Friday and ran along Broadway, East Pike, and up 11th Avenue to end at Cal Anderson Park. Following the march was an after party with a show by LICK! OFFICIAL at Chop Suey.
The weekend was full of marches. Over at the Seattle Central Community College plaza, the Dyke March began, which celebrates all queer and feminist community members and practices to unite people through collaboration and delegation.
If rainbows, truck food, bubbles, and booze don’t get you up to the most popular festival in Western Washington, seriously consider it for 2015.
Photos by Jim Simandl