Although Charleston celebrated its Pride week starting last Sunday, Sept. 16 through a variety of drag shows, movie screenings and other prideful activities, it did not culminate to its end until Saturday, Sept. 22. The final day of pride was a cause for excitement for all. The sounds of cans spritzing open and ice rattling in plastic coffee cups echoed down the otherwise silent side-streets of Upper King Street Saturday morning as anxious floats prepared for the parade as early as 7 a.m. As the time drew nearer for the parade to truly begin, the small back streets began to fill up with more people walking and the mixture of dance music from a variety of floats. All of the floats were run by different groups who sponsored Charleston Pride including Beau Magazine, Dudley’s on Ann, Bud Lite and the College of Charleston’s very own LGBTQ+ and ally club, Prism.
The parade started on time and people began moving at 9 a.m. through Ann Street to King Street and then working their way down Broad Street and finishing at Colonial Lake.
All of King Street was lined with excited supporters all frantically waving around rainbows on shirts, flags, signs and fans. Many familiar faces were seen in the crowd supporting Charleston LGBTQ+ community including Professor Kathleen Beres-Rogers, an Assistant Professor in College of Charleston’s English Department. Seeing the overwhelming support and love of the parade caused many to be emotional and a few of those walking in the parade were seen dabbing away tears with large smiles on their faces.
As the parade reached the end of its route at Colonial Lake around 10:30 a.m., many of those who walked in it began to drop off. They did not leave because they were tired of celebrating pride, but so they could get an amazing seat at the Charleston Pride Festival that followed the parade at Brittlebank Park, near the gorgeous Ashley River, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival was headlined by Betty Who and Le1f, as well as featuring performances from some of Charleston’s premiere drag queens and kings – most notably the Empress and Emperor of Charleston Pride Carmella Monet Monroe and Nytes Deville respectively. The festival also had DJ Beck Danger performing throughout the day. Surrounding
the entertainment is a variety of vendors selling Pride merchandise, food trucks, and alcohol stands so everyone could truly celebrate their Charleston Pride.
After the festival and all the amazing talent that performed, happy, but exhausted Pride attendees were given a blessing of having six hours before their next sanctioned Pride event. From 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at the Music Farm, Charleston Pride through its official After Party of Pride called the Prism Party. It featured drag performances from four of the contestants of Rupaul’s Drag Race – Trinity Taylor, Yuhua Hamasaki, Jade Jolie and Jaidynn Diore Fierce. Opening for these amazing drag queens were more local Charleston girls including Venus Alexander, DiamondGiovanni, Crystal Guysir and recurring performances by the reigning Emperor and Empress of Charleston Pride.
While the night might have raged on for many long after the Prism Party, it was the official end to an amazing week of Charleston Pride and has left many to eagerly await for next year.