Postponed Pride will be a DC economic blow, but they’re getting creative

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 9: The Capital Pride parade moves along 17th Street NW in Washington, D.C., June 9, 2018. This year, the Pride Parade and Festival is among dozens of June events postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. (Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Postponing this summer’s big Capital Pride festivities in the District isn’t just a huge disappointment to the hundreds of thousands of people it draws, it is a significant blow to D.C.’s economy, especially if it isn’t rescheduled.

All events scheduled in June, which span more than a week, have been postponed, including the Pride Parade and Festival. Other events had already been postponed, such as Capital Trans Pride and API Pride. Youth Pride, Silver Pride, DC Latinx Pride and DC Black Pride have also been postponed and may be canceled altogether.

All told, those are huge draws for the District.

“We say that over the course of the week, specifically the weekend of the parade and festival and concert, we likely have well over a half million people that we touch, whether they be marching, whether they be spectating, whether they be attending or partying,” Ryan Bos executive director of Capital Pride Alliance told WTOP.

They fill hotels, bars and restaurants, and Capital Pride events have an estimated economic impact of $50 million or more. Capital Pride had planned to conduct a new economic impact study this year, but it is now on hold.

Capital Pride Alliance has not identified new dates for postponed events. It hopes to be able to announce a new schedule in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Capital Pride is getting creative, so as not to completely ruin the celebrations.

“Even though we’re not going to have the traditional Pride events this June, we are brainstorming about how to create some virtual opportunities, such as a virtual parade and a virtual festival. Then when we hopefully get the go-ahead to have larger gatherings in the city, we definitely want to find the best way and the safest way,” Bos said.

This year’s theme is #StillWe.

“I know the LGBTQ+ community is always determined and resilient in the face of a challenge,” said Ashley Smith, board president of the Capital Pride Alliance.

“Our history is one of struggle, and with the care and support of the hundreds of thousands of people who participate in Capital Pride events, I can say with confidence that we will persevere and be there for each other in these unprecedented time,” she said.

Capital Pride Alliance is offering free ad space on its annual Guide to Pride in the Nation’s Capital online to support local small businesses.

InterPride, and the European Pride Organizers Association, the largest international Pride networks, have already scheduled a virtual Global Pride Event for June 27 online with national organizations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up