A couple of weeks ago, I attended the weekend-long Pride Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina and it was amazing! The combination of the happy people, the lovely weather, and the fun music made for an awesome experience. Here are five amazing things I learned from attending the festival:
1. Standing for hours is great under the right circumstances.
During the Charlotte Pride Parade, which lasted roughly 2 hours, I was standing on the side of the road cheering as loudly as possible. While it was definitely a good time, my legs really started to ache after the first hour. However, the parade itself was quite the distraction and I honestly didn't notice until it was over.
2. People are more fun when they can be openly proud of who they are.
On Saturday, the second day of the festival, I spent a good bit of time at the main stage in uptown Charlotte. There was lots of upbeat music, men in thongs, and rainbow suspenders (not to mention all of the dancing)! Being a part of this mid-day "party" was the most fun I'd had in a long time! I couldn't help but notice that everyone was so happy in such an accepting environment; I think it really brings out the best in people!
3. There's nothing cooler than a crowd full of rainbows.
When I first arrived at the festival, the first thing I noticed was tons of rainbows in the crowd. There were pride flags, pride-themed clothing, dyed hair, and every business had turned their logo into a more colorful version! It was honestly a wonderful sight and I wish that Charlotte could look like that all the time.
4. Nothing makes you more proud of the city you live in than... Pride.
Towards the end of the weekend, I felt more connected to the city of Charlotte. I have never been to a Pride Festival before, and my very first had drawn me closer to the city I live in. As a big believer in all people being accepted, nothing felt better than to see an entire community support and sponsor the same notion!
5. "Pride" is an all-inclusive term.
As the weekend came to a close, I started to reflect on my experience at Pride. I thought about the diversity of the parade, the upbeat spirit of the city, and the many businesses that had come out to show their support. Needless to say, I was very impressed!
The biggest thing I learned from the festival was that the definition of "pride" includes so much more than what first comes to mind. Pride includes all sexualities and gender identities, and literally, no one is left out.