Record Turnout Expected for Northwest Arkansas Pride’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

Northwest Arkansas Pride

Fayetteville, Ark – Northwest Arkansas Equality said it expects a record turnout for its 20th anniversary.

I think about where we started – just 30 people in 2004 – to where we are now, and it's incredible," said Richard Gathright, Director of NWA Pride. "With more than 35,000 people expected to attend this year, it's not only a testament to how strong the LGBTQ community is here but also how strong the support is from people outside our community.

Over the years, Pride celebrations have grown, attracting visitors from neighboring states and across Arkansas. According to a 2023 article from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, NWA Pride is one of the region's largest events and a "boon" for local retailers, restaurants, and hotels.

Throughout this year's Pride Parade weekend, residents and visitors will be invited to see performances by Big Freedia, Plasma, Kylie Sonique Love, and more than two dozen local Queer entertainers. The Trans March will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 28th, on Fayetteville Square, with a rally and festival to follow. Saturday, June 29th, will see the return of the NWA Pride Festival, located in the West Avenue parking lot, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The NWA Pride Youth Zone will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the Fayetteville Town Center. The 20th Anniversary NWA Pride Parade will begin at 5 p.m. on Dickson Street.

The weekend serves as a reminder that many members of the LGBTQ community continue to experience discrimination and harassment. While the festival is a time for joyous expression, NWA Equality Board President Jafet Malave emphasizes the ongoing need for progress toward equality. He called attention to the disproportionately high number of LGBTQ youth who die every year, especially among trans kids of color, and pointed to both the Trevor Project and the Human Rights Campaign, which track deaths by suicide and targeted violence.

"Pride isn't just about rainbows and glitter," Malave said. It's about creating a future where LGBTQ people can thrive without fear. The stories of violence against our community are a stark reminder that we have more work to do. WA Pride is a chance to stand together, celebrate our progress, and raise our voices for continued change."

About Northwest Arkansas Equality

Northwest Arkansas Equality is a nonprofit organization that provides programming, education, and advocacy to serve, connect, and empower the LGBTQ community. The organization offers free HIV/STI testing services, peer support groups, resource navigation, and social and community outreach events. Each summer, NWA Equality produces Northwest Arkansas Pride, the state's largest multi-day LGBTQ advocacy celebration.

To support NWA Equality's initiatives, visit nwaequality.org. For more information on NWA Pride, visit nwapride.org.

Contact
Teresa Krug
Board of Directors
Northwest Arkansas Equality, Inc.
501.691.9432

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