The Center: PrideFest and so much more
The GLBT nonprofit hosts a number of programs and support groups throughout the year
June 12, 2012 | 12:00 am
(Updated: February 25, 2013 | 3:35 pm)
PrideFest comes but once a year: The third weekend in the month of June.
And while The GLBT Community Center of Colorado will begin planning PrideFest 2013 immediately after this year’s event, the nonprofit has a host of other events, resource groups and programs the rest of the year.
“We produce PrideFest because it is important to celebrate who we are as a community,” said The Center’s Chief Executive Officer Carlos Martinez. “The rest of the year we are supporting our community through various ways to live healthy and productive lives, and to take pride in who they are at work, with their family and in their community.”
Whether it’s a party on the rooftop or a trans support group, there’s something for everyone at The Center.
But since PrideFest is top-of- mind, let’s start there.
This year’s two-day PrideFest, June 16 and 17, is expected to bring more than 300,000 people to Civic Center and generate more than $25 million in economic activity for Denver.
The party kicks off Saturday with Family Day. Entertainment will feature Doggie Drag, a children’s parade, petting zoo and the addition of family-friendly vendors, organizer Amy Drayer said.
“With the addition of the Family day, PrideFest has expanded to include all members of our community and has experienced fantastic growth during the last six years,” she said.
The backbone of the festival is the PrideFest parade that steps off at 9:30 a.m. from Cheesman Park and makes its way down Colfax Avenue toward Civic Center.
All four of Colorado’s out gay and lesbian lawmakers – state Sens. Lucia Guzman and Pat Steadman and state Reps. Sue Schafer and Mark Ferrandino – will grand marshal the parade.
Additionally, there will be more than 30 performers on the main stage with dozen of DJs at Dance World, and more singing, dancing and drag at the country stage and Latin stage. There will be a Trans support area and designated safe-space for LGBT youth.
You could say PrideFest is a microcosm of what The Center offers throughout the rest of the year.
“We work hard to make sure PrideFest is a representation of the community, we work hard to make sure there is something for everyone,” Drayer said.
Throughout the balance of the year, The Center features programs including SAGE of the Rockies, for elders, and Rainbow Alley for youth. The Center recently added – and is currently developing – more programs for trans community members. And it’s also home to the community’s legacy legal initiative program, formally known as CLIP.
“More than 3,000 people visit The Center monthly to access services that allow them to live healthy and productive lives,” Martinez said. “We provide a safe space to be yourself, we help keep families together, we fight for your rights, and we help save lives.”
In the last year, The Center has celebrated its 35th anniversary and opened a satellite office in Fort Collins after the Lambda Community Center there shuttered.
The nonprofit has also beefed up its social programming. Last year it launched a monthly rooftop party during the summer.
The Center also hosts a dinning out program, Out on the Town.
“We’re really excited about our Out on the Town lineup this year, and we’re adding a dessert series, which we think will be a big hit,” said The Center’s volunteer coordinator Jessie Genther. ]