AURORA | Colorado’s oldest and most influential gay and lesbian news source is turning up the heat on Aurora’s own unique pride fest next month, creating an extravaganza of beach-oriented festivities and entertainment at the Aurora Reservoir Aug. 3.
“This isn’t going to be like an other pride event in Colorado,” said Jerry Cunningham, Publisher of Colorado OUT FRONT Magazine. Out Front organizes the event, now in its third year. Sentinel Colorado is also a prominent sponsor.
Cunningham began the event to offer the metro area LGBTQ community an event to share their pride in being an critical part of Aurora’s family community. Much of the Aurora Pride festival focuses on the Aurora region’s LGBTQ families.
This year’s event, however, is a festival for everyone in the metro area. Beach and lake activities, music, cocktails and beer, food, drag shows and more all at the city’s premier reservoir venue promise to make it a memorable day, said event organizer Zander Oklar.
“There were two main goals when putting together our entertainment schedule: to bring exciting acts in to get the community ecstatic about the event, and to ensure that the performers are representative of the LGBTQ community,” Oklar said.
The event is free, but organizers stress that guests need to register online for parking passes or make arrangements to park at nearby shuttle venues or even take advantage of Lyft arrangements created specially for the Aurora Pridefest.
The party begins at 11 a.m., so make sure to get down early to grab a spot. Carpool or take a Lyft to save on the $10 parking fee.
You can take in the events and entertainment any way you like, Oklar said, or there are a limited number of reserved shaded spots and cabanas for the event. Some start at $125 and include a parking pass, two unlimited Beer Bust tickets and a welcome mini-cooler.
Besides a full schedule of shows and entertainment, everyone is invited to get into beach mode. There’s a swim beach for a cool dip in the reservoir’s famously clear water, kayaks, paddleboards and more.
The entertainment schedule is non-stop from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. The event will offers a wide range of local and national drag performers.
Headlining the event is national drag star Alaska 5000, the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars Season 2.
Local entertainers showcased include drag couple Evelyn Evermoore and Dustin Schlong, queen Victoria Paige Matthews, burlesque dancer Betsy Bootknocker and Denver DJs Blondetourage.
Organizers say that Alaska won’t disappoint in offering a memorable show.
Her set should be wild, as she said in her Q&A with OUT FRONT writer Denny Patterson, even she doesn’t really know where her sets are going until she gets started.
Organizers are also holding a “Dragutante” event, where junior drag kings and queens can strut their stuff and perform. Dragutantes, a non-profit group started by a group of Colorado parents, is led by drag mom Robin Fulton. They provide a platform for drag artists under 18 years old to express themselves onstage.
The all-day event’s slogan this year is “for all,” which organizers say they really taken to heart.
Kids and their families will have access to the beach and a shaded playground, a must if the weather turns up the heat that day. Members of CHEER Colorado will be joining the party to teach cheerleading classes.
While the fun focuses on families and the beach, food and booze is focused on Aurora’s famous cultural diversity. Oklar said organizers are recruiting local food trucks that offer a taste of the Aurora area community in addition to mobile festival favorites.
For beer lovers, Beer Bust tickets for $25 offers as endless tastes of some of Colorado’s famous craft and favorite brews and favorites, and a collectible glass.
Budweiser and Aurora’s own Dry Dock will be prominent at the festival. With a variety of bars at the event, other cocktail choices will also be available.
Oklar said the event will be a standout pridefest for everyone proud of their LGBTQ friends, community and family, no matter how that family looks.
Dress any part you want or dress any way you want.
“Aurora Pride is a great place to go all-out and be accepted,” Oklar said. “But we will still love you if you come in your normal clothes.”
Third Annual Aurora Pride
• 11 A.M. to 8 P.M., Aug. 3
•Aurora Reservoir, 5800 South Powhaton Road in east Aurora, just east of the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds
•Event is free, but a free registration for parking is needed at aurorapride.com
• For full schedule, registration and details, go to aurorapride.com
• Aurora Pride is a free event, however every attendee must have a ticket to enter the Park. Go to AuroraPride.com for tickets, parking options and details.
• Up-close RockStar Parking Passes are limited and can be pre-purchased for $10.
• Save $5 on the Ultimate Beer Bust, featuring Dry Dock, when you buy your Beer Bust ticket online.
• Reserved cabana spaces on the beach are available starting at $125 and include 1 RockStar parking pass, 2 Unlimited Beer Bust tickets and a Welcome Mini-Cooler.
• No outside alcoholic beverages will be permitted at Aurora Pride.