How Long Does A Pride Parade Last?

The annual Pride parade is one of the most beloved Pride month traditions that most members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies look forward to. If you’re planning on attending your very first fabulous march this year, you might be wondering how long the whole event will last.

The duration of the parades can vary, but the majority of them last for around 2.5-5 hours. New York’s Pride March, one of the largest in the world, can last between 6 and 12 hours, but remember that you can join and go whenever you feel like it.

Want to find out what exactly to expect from the Pride parade and what happens after the march? Then keep on reading!

Pre Sydney Mardi Gras

How Long Does the Pride Parade Last?

The majority of pride events take place all around the world in June in honor of the Stonewall riots that occurred in 1969 in New York City. In many cities in the United States, the Pride parade is held on the weekend that is closest to June 28.

The actual parade usually lasts for a few hours during which hundreds or thousands of people march along the Parade route

Here are a few examples of the largest parades that took place in the United States and Canada in 2023 and their durations:

CityDate & TimeRoute
Washington D.C. June 10, between 11:00 AM and 2:30 PMFrom 15th Street NW to P ST at 21st Street NW
TorontoJune 25, between 2:00 PM and 7:00 PMThe march began at the corner of Church St N and Bloor St E
New YorkJune 25, started at 12:00 PMThe parade kicks off at 25th Street and 5th Avenue and ends at 16th Street and 7th Avenue
Chicago June 25, began at noon and finished at around 2:30 PMFrom Montrose and Broadway to the intersection of Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road in Lincoln Park
New Orleans June 10, began at 6:00 PMThe lineup started on Elysian Fields at Washington Square Park
Table of popular Pride Parades

As you can see, the Pride parade typically lasts between 2.5 and 5 hours. But if you want to join New York’s Pride March, be prepared to keep going for 6-12 hours.

Don’t worry if you have arrived late to the beginning or if you feel like you won’t be able to march for several hours. Remember that you can participate as much or as little as you want. Join the parade in all your fabulousness along the route or leave the celebration if you feel tired. 

Though businesses, large organizations, and some charities have to pay an entry fee to participate, for the rest of the individuals it is always completely free of charge (though you might be asked to donate if you decide to continue the celebration at the Pride Festival that usually takes place after the parade). 

What Happens During A Pride Parade?

If you’re attending the parade for the first time, you might find the event to be quite overwhelming. There is just too much happening, and the chances are high that you will quickly get a sensory overload (in the best way possible) from all the music, songs, dancing, floats, and costumes.

The scale of the event would, of course, depend on the city where you decide to celebrate. But if you find yourself in one of the major cities, you will get to see thousands of people dancing and beautifully decorated trucks playing music.

The large parades also typically include representations from local unions, schools, churches, businesses, political parties, and community organizations.

FAQs About Pride Parade

What’s the main aim of the Pride parade?

Pride parades have been created to celebrate diversity, freedom, unity, and equality. However, the main goal of the majority of activities that take place during the parade and Pride Month is to gain visibility and raise awareness about the problems faced by the community.

The events help members of the LGBTQ+ community embrace who they really are and gain confidence by showing the world their true selves. Of course, the parade also offers individuals a chance to get together and meet new people with the same interests.

Finally, the Pride parade provides the community with an opportunity to commemorate those who have lost their lives to violence and AIDS.

Waiting for the Sydney Mardi Gras to start

What’s the history of the Pride parade?

The mid-20th century was a difficult time for the queer community. The New York State Liquor Authority, for example, would fine the places that served alcohol to gay people. Furthermore, it was absolutely normal for the owner of the bar or even a guest to tell gay individuals to sit facing away from other customers, so that they wouldn’t talk to anyone else. 

All in all, queer gatherings were considered to be pretty much illegal. The only places where individuals and couples could be themselves were special gay clubs. But even such places weren’t 100% safe.

On June 28, 1969, the New York City Police Department raided Stonewall, a gay bar and recreational tavern in Greenwich Village. However, the local residents and bar patrons stood up against police brutality. A big crowd gathered outside the bar and started chanting “Gay power” and throwing beer bottles at the police.

The Stonewall riots lasted for 6 days, and they acted as a trigger for the queer rights movement not only in the US but also worldwide. On the first anniversary of the riots, community members of NYC marched through the streets. This is how the first-ever Pride parade took place. It became a guiding light for hundreds of similar marches across the globe and became only bigger and more popular throughout the years. 

Who can attend the Pride parade?

Members of the queer community, their family and friends, and anyone who is willing to support the LGBTQ+ community are invited to join the fun. The Parade is a safe space where everyone is encouraged to be nice to one another and to not be afraid of letting their true personality shine. 

By the way, you can totally attend the march by yourself – it is an amazing way to make new friends or just have a great time.

These events are also very family-friendly, so you can even choose to bring your kids with you.

Volunteers ending the Mardi Gras parade

What can I write on my sign and what should I wear?

You do not have to come with a sign or a flag. But if you feel like you want everyone to be able to read what you have to say, you can get inspired by the official theme of the Pride parade that gets announced every year or simply copy one of the signs from the previous marches, if you feel like it truly does resonate with you.

When it comes to clothes, you can wear whatever makes you feel like your true self. If that’s a T-shirt and jeans – that’s perfectly fine.

But if you’re someone who loves to dress up, don’t be afraid to go all out!

How do I find the nearest event?

Practically every parade has its own website with detailed instructions.

But if you want to keep up with all Pride events happening near you, then go straight to the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association’s website. Here, you’ll find a convenient Pride calendar that includes plenty of events happening in every corner of the globe. 

Where does the Pride parade end?

A lot of parades usually end at a park where a gigantic party is organized. The celebration is sometimes called the ‘Pride Festival’ or the ‘post-parade party’, and it can include concerts, drag shows, film festivals, outdoor activities, and a lot more. Some festivals even have kid-friendly zones.

To Sum Up

Thanks to such wonderful events as the Pride parade, the mindset of people worldwide is finally changing. 

The celebration that typically takes place during Pride Month can last for only a few hours, but will forever remain in the hearts of those who took part in it. And such moments are the ones that help every single member of the LGBTQ+ community continue the battle with their everyday struggles with their heads held high.

So, if you’re still debating whether or not to participate in the next Pride parade, it might be worth at least giving it a try. After all, it’s nice to take a long walk with like-minded people from time to time, right?

Gay Worlley

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