AURORA | Time for Pride, Aurora.
Live and in person, and open to everyone, Aurora Pride 2023 hits Aurora’s best beach this Saturday.
The sixth annual event offers a day of sun, beers, sand, water fun, bands, booths, food, entertainment and more, providing what planners say is a Colorado Pride event with something for everyone and every age.
“It’s been so amazing to see Aurora Pride grow from a small event on the municipal lawn to a large event on the beach at Aurora Reservoir,” said Zandar Oklar, Executive Director of Aurora Pride. “This year we have a record number of local vendors, a bunch of great performers, a whole new beach DJ pavilion, and for the first time ever you can get into the reservoir as early as 8 a.m.”
The pride celebration, sponsored in part by Sentinel Colorado, has grown to become one of the region’s premier LGBTQ-support events, this one catering to the entire family.
The price to get in? Nothing — until the day of the event.
Advance admission is free, but a ticket, available online, is required. The Pride celebration offers a bevy of packages that include parking and beer passes. Paddleboards and aquatic rentals are extra. But the fun, bands and entertainment are all free.
“New this year, we have Early Entry tickets that allow you and your friends to get to the beach early to set up and enjoy the sun, water and sand as early as 8 am,” according to an Aurora Pride organizers. “If that’s too early for you, no problem. Simply get your free ticket, and if you want to save a few bucks, prepay for your parking now.”
Oklar and former Out Front Magazine Publisher Jerry Cunningham began the event to offer the metro area LGBTQ community an event to share their pride in being a critical part of Aurora’s family community. Much of the Aurora Pride festival focuses on the Aurora region’s LGBTQ families.
The celebration moved to the Aurora Reservoir complex in 2019 and was an immediate success, Oklar said.
The festival is for everyone in the metro area, organizers say.
Beach and lake activities, music, cocktails, beers, food, drag shows and more all at the city’s premier reservoir venue promise to make it a memorable day, Oklar said.
“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.
Guaranteed are some of the best local drag queens, musical acts and more.
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 make Uber or Lyft arrangements created specially for the Aurora Pridefest.
The party begins at noon and ends at 7 p.m., with an option for early beach access this year.
Event organizers recommend going early to ensure a close-in parking spot. Overflow parking at the nearby Arapahoe County Fairgrounds will include shuttle service to and from the reservoir complex.
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.
How to dress? Anyway you like. Romp at the event in your proudest pride wear or just come in what’s comfortable for a day at the beach, Oklar said.
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.
For beer lovers, Beer Bust tickets for $30 in advance offer tastes of some of Aurora’s famous craft and favorite brews from the city’s own Drydock Brewery. The price goes up to $40 at the gate. Tickets are good for five drinks.
Oklar said the event will be a standout Pridefest for everyone proud of their LGBTQ friends, community and family, no matter what the family looks like.
IF YOU GO
2023 Aurora Pride at Reservoir
• Noon. to 7 P.M., Aug. 5
• 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
• Up-close parking and passes are limited and can be pre-purchased for $20. Shuttle parking is $10
• No outside alcoholic beverages are permitted at Aurora Pride