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2021 30 Days of Pride in DSM

30 Days of Pride

June 14, 2021

Pridefest has long been a tradition in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Started more than 40 years ago to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising, the festival has always been a place for the LGBTQ+ community to come together in a safe space and celebrate its members’ most authentic selves. For decades, the festival has been located in what we now call the Historic East Village, although it certainly predates the neighborhood! There’s been a street festival, with outdoor bars, stages of entertainment, food trucks, vendors of all kinds and more, as well as the annual parade (historically, the best parade of the year!).

And then, COVID-19 came into our lives.

In 2020, determined to celebrate the diversity that Capital City Pride strives to uplift and amplify, knowing that people were craving connection after so much isolation, Capital City Pride switched gears and took the events they could online. They turned the traditional parade into a car parade, and the celebrating moved to hanging flags out of windows while cheering for one another. It was a sliver of hope, that one day we would celebrate together again.

A New Celebration Post-Pandemic

When planning came around for 2021, it was hard to know where to begin. Large festivals like this (more than 20,000 attendees in 2019) take a lot of time to plan. It was important to come together, but we wanted to do it safely, and unsure of what the summer would look like, we stepped back and prepared to regroup again. And from this regrouping came 30 Days of Pride.

30 Days took many of the same elements from a traditional Pride week and spread them out over the course of the whole month, for smaller/socially-distanced capable gatherings. Then, the board looked to where we could be more inclusive and added in more family-focused activities, as well as online content for those that aren’t yet comfortable celebrating in person. The guiding light through it all was connection and recognizing how important it would be for all of us to come together, in whatever ways we could.

And here we are now, mid-June, cautiously anticipating a return to normal, and soaking in all warmth of the long-missed hugs, laughter and fellowship in the meantime. And there’s still plenty of time to join in on the fun.

30 Days Events

Mindful Mondays have online meditations and art tours, and each week you can find us in Partnership with the Des Moines Art Center, hosting sunset yoga classes at The Pappajohn Sculpture Park (6/21 & 6/28). Before each class, museum staff will be teaching about art and architecture on the grounds as well.

Tuesdays we come together online for a virtual dinner party and cooking class. Check the event ahead of time for grocery lists and recipes so you can cook along at home and watch for value wine pairings suggested during the broadcast!

Wednesdays aren’t a drag during pride month, they’re made for drag in June! Join us at Noce for a Broadway Singalong (6/23) and you really don’t want to miss out on Drag King at Wooly’s (6/30).

Thursdays are informative and educational, as we host our monthly Speaker Series (6/17) and our always popular Storytellers night. The June speaker is Jane Elliott, an Iowa native who’s gone on to become an internationally known educator, lecturer, diversity trainer and recipient of the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education. This event will be streamed online. Our Storytellers will come together to share their stories, their vulnerabilities, their fears and their hopes with the community. This is always a powerful and moving evening of connection, and we need that in 2021 more than ever.

Fridays are our family night, and we have some great stuff in store! Find us at Blank Park Zoo for the Rainbow Safari (6/18) where we’re hosting free temporary tattoos, carousel and train rides! Or head down to the Science Center for a Ride in Movie night (6/25) on their lawn!

On the weekends, we have a variety of activities from a Progressive Worship Service (6/20) to a COVID-19 Online Remembrance (6/26). Check out our Pet Parade at Principal Park (6/26), and finally, get to Waterworks (6/27) for a day of live music at our outdoor concert, as well as our Drive Through Parade!

You can find details about all of Capital City Pride’s events and programming on the website.

I truly love this city, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of making it a more inclusive place through celebrating the lives and contributions of those in the LGBTQ+ community. Come celebrate Pride with us, this month, and the whole year through.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.

Sara Downing

Sara Downing has lived in Greater Des Moines (DSM) most of her adult life, except for the three years she spent living in Chile with her husband, Ryan, and their dogs, Betty and Raleigh. She's proud of her involvement in many city events spanning a 20-year hospitality career.