RICHMOND, Va. -- VA Pridefest will be held in person for the first time in two years on Saturday, September 25 on Brown's Island.
COVID-19 prevented organizers from holding the event last year.
The event, hosted by Virginia Pride, is a celebration of Richmond's LGBTQ community and is one of the largest outdoor festivals in the region.
Virginia Pride also announced that the Virginia Lottery will be the presenting sponsor of Pridefest.
“Having the Virginia Lottery support Pridefest as the presenting sponsor for 2021 is exactly the shot in the arm we needed,” said James Millner, the Director of Virginia Pride. “The COVID pandemic really slowed the momentum we had gained after years of growth of Pridefest, so having the Virginia Lottery step up and invest in Pridefest and the LGBTQ community in such a significant way is a huge boost to us. We are very grateful.”
Virginia Pride also named the Lottery as its 2021 “Partner in Pride,” meaning it will have a presence at most of the organization’s events and programs for the remainder of the year. The Virginia Lottery unveiled a new version of its logo to reflect its relationship with Virginia Pride.
The new logo features pink, blue, black, brown and rainbow stripes to represent the diversity of the LGBTQ community.
“The Virginia Lottery is thrilled to partner with Virginia Pride as the presenting sponsor of Pridefest and to support its important year-round efforts to make the Richmond Region a better place for LGBTQ people to live, work and visit,” said Kevin Hall, Executive Director of the Virginia Lottery. “As a significant regional employer with a diverse workforce, and as a frequent sponsor of many nonprofit events which promote inclusion and strengthen communities, the Lottery is proud to celebrate the LGBTQ community during Pride Month and every month.”
With nearly all COVID-19 restrictions lifted, organizers are planning for a festival that will feature two stages of entertainment, including a Youth Pride Pavilion stage with entertainment for families and more than 100 vendors.
Despite the lifted restrictions, Virginia Pride stressed that the health and safety of the community are key as they move forward with event plans.
“While we are excited that we are able to have an in-person Pridefest, we are keenly aware that circumstances could change and we are prepared for that possibility,” Millner said. “We are monitoring the situation closely and are absolutely committed to ensuring that we are in full compliance with all federal, state and local COVID-19 safety guidelines. Nothing is more important than the safety of our community.”
A pride event has been held in Richmond every year but two, one of which was 2020, since 1979. The annual event has taken many forms, including small parties, parades and festivals.
Pridefest has been held on Brown’s Island since 2014 and has grown significantly, drawing around 40,000 attendees in 2019.