Milwaukee Pride plans October festival

Photo: Milwaukee Pride

A scaled-back version of Milwaukee PrideFest is back on this year. 

The festival’s parent organization, Milwaukee Pride, Inc., announced Thursday that the annual event will return to the Summerfest grounds Oct. 8-9. 

The festival, which is Wisconsin’s largest LGBTQ+ event, was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and earlier this year organizers said the June festival would have to be called off again this year.

In a typical year, the four-day festival brings thousands of people to Milwaukee’s lakefront. In 2019, the festival had record attendance of 45,787 people.

“We just couldn’t wait until 2022 to see our LGBTQ+ family and allies again,” said Luke Olson, PrideFest producer and Milwaukee Pride vice president. “October is LGBTQ+ history month along with National Coming Out Day. What better moment to gather and reflect on the long journey that got us to this point – and of course, to celebrate.”

This year’s event, which will be a scaled-down version of the June festival, will be rebranded as “PridetoberFest.” The event will run from 3 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 8 and noon to midnight on Oct. 9. 

As vaccination rates increase and COVID-19 cases decline, several festival organizers have decided to resume events this summer and fall, Wisconsin State Fair and Summerfest being among the largest. 

“For the last two festival planning seasons, our planning processes were guided by science, direction from local government, the health department, and of course the needs of our community,” said Wes Shaver, Milwaukee Pride president. “Now these same sources have offered new guidelines and pathways to come out of the pandemic and it’s time to listen and act accordingly. We are excited to bridge the gap between recent summers and what we expect will be a fully open and back to normal 2022. It’s time to bring businesses and communities back to life.”

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