Pride on a budget for the young, queer and broke
June 15, 2011 | 7:02 am
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 5:57 pm)
The economy sucks. Your job doesn’t pay what it did, and gas prices – yikes. They say the rich are getting richer, but in your little gay universe you’ll do whatever it takes to get a deal this Pride weekend and still have fun.
You’ve done it too many times: trekked to Pride with the clothes on your back, sunglasses and a camera, only to need something you didn’t have and it wasn’t even noon. Soon your shoulders were blistering from the sun and you were starving and thirsty, forced to cough up three bucks for a 12-ounce bottle of water.
“Be Prepared” is the Boy Scout motto, and smart queers come to Pride with all the gear they’d need for a weekend in the woods. Take a bag or backpack with water, snacks, sunscreen, cell phone charger, extra clothes – and for the morning after, aspirin.
Speaking of being prepared, say what again is the price for a drink? Instead of emptying your wallet in Civic Center for a one-hour buzz, stash a bottle of vodka in your friend’s downtown apartment and down your drinks (with a meal) before you go. You can stop back for a re-fill mid-afternoon.
There’s no point in anything fancy – we’re guessing you want something stiff (to drink that is), and maybe caffeinated. That’s cheap if you plan ahead.
3. Who needs clothes?
Sometimes, less is more. Pride is that “sometimes.” Ditch the designers and don a sleeveless shirt and cheap shorts from Target; you’re probably not going home with them anyway. You’ll still be overdressed compared to some.
4. Free stuff
You won’t make it an hour through PrideFest without being pelted in the forehead with mini-packs of lube and condoms. By the end of the day, the trash cans will be stuffed with rejected coupons and promotional products. This is your chance to not only coast through Pride on a bag full of free trinkets but to stock up for the weeks to come. Take what people hand you; by Sunday night you’ll have a stack of restaurant vouchers and a six-month supply of chapstick.
Fun Fact: condoms with a picture of a sad-looking dog that says “adopt” work just as well as any other.
5. Flirt for free drinks
There are those to whom life is generous. You know that’s not you (or else you’re just under 30). But folks in the first category are often more than happy to showcase their success at a once-a-year occasion like Pride. Don’t wear your poverty on your sleeve, but don’t turn down an offer either. Un-requested gifts of libations at a bar leave you free of any obligation beyond a sweet “thank you” and a smile – no one should tell you otherwise.
6. Crash with friends
Parking fees and parking tickets will be yet another round of Pride-related pain and suffering if you drive up Sunday morning without a plan or stay longer than you intended. But Capitol Hill is the most LGBT-saturated neighborhood in Colorado; Downtown and LoDo come in close behind, so you’re bound to have friends who live within walking distance of PrideFest.
Finding a friend to stay with not only spares your posse from picking an unlucky designated driver, but gives you an address to order a pizza later, or base camp to pile up some pre-prepared sandwiches and booze. You can pay your friend back with a bottle of wine and some doughnuts.
A word to the wise: when it comes to PrideFest, nothing compares to the cost of a D.U.I. If you don’t have a place to stay, do save money for a bus or cab.
7. Only drink beer
Actually, one thing that might cost nearly as much as legal fees is a medical bill from detox. If you’ve had experience losing control at PrideFest, consider avoiding mixed drinks – a few extra trips to take a leak (and they do have public bathrooms) are a far better outcome than puking on yourself or passing out on Colfax.
If excess is not your concern, a strong India Pale Ale beer is one of the better options when it comes to drunk-per-dollar at a bar.
8. Taco Bell
No, we have not been paid for an endorsement. But there’s no point in fancy dining when the fun is outside on the street. Not only are plain bean burritos relatively non-greasy, they’re dirt cheap at less than a dollar each, and do a great job at sucking residual alcohol out of your digestive system.
If you’re in Cheesman Park, there’s a T’-Bell just two blocks away on Colfax and Williams, and in Civic Center you’re a Mall ride away from the one in the middle of 16th Street.
9. Pack a lunch
How about skipping the fast food altogether and bringing something from home? Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you’re lazy, and a little forethought pays off in future convenience and cash.
10. Have a home base
We cannot over-emphasize the value of friends who live Downtown. We are confident that all you generous, kind-hearted and responsible readers will profusely thank your hosts and find a way to pay them back. Someday you’ll be the one with the posh loft and some other queer folks will benefit.
But we realize you don’t all know someone in the area, or maybe you’re just too polite to impose. If that’s the case – you just can’t get around renting a room – split it with a group of people and save your romantic overnights for another time. If, that is, a crowded room even stops you.