GAINESVILLE PRIDE FESTIVAL AND PARADE CANCELED FOR 2021
The Pride Community Center of North Central Florida (PCCNCF) has decided to cancel this year’s Gainesville Pride Festival and Parade and to cancel or postpone other Pride Days events planned for October 2021 due to concerns for public health amid the current COVID-19 surge.
The annual Pride Days events—including the festival, parade and Spirit of Pride Community Awards Dinner and Silent Auction—were also canceled last October due to COVID. But, as of late spring 2021, PCCNCF was optimistic that the events could safely return this October, with vaccinations available for everyone 12 years old and above and COVID cases declining. According to The New York Times’ interactive COVID tracker, at the time of PCCNCF’s June 12 community meeting, the seven-day average for COVID cases in Alachua County was just 16. People participating in the community meeting were enthusiastic about volunteering, and plans began to bring back Pride for 2021.
However, with the summer surge of the Delta variant, the PCCNCF Board of Directors, festival co-chair and other community members grew concerned about the safety of putting on an event that typically attracts 5,000 people from Gainesville and the surrounding areas. As of the August 23 PCCNCF Board of Directors meeting, the county’s seven-day average had increased to 215. After much deliberation, the board made the difficult decision to cancel the festival and parade and to postpone the community awards dinner and silent auction.
“We planned to welcome everyone back with a day of fabulous festivities. Celebrating being together again with Pride was more than a possibility.”SAM WELKER
(Gainesville Pride Festival and Parade Co-Chair)
PCCNCF will now work with volunteers to create safe alternatives for celebrating October’s LGBTQ+ Pride History Month, and they will go forward with publishing the annual Pride Guide to showcase local businesses who are LGBTQ+ owned or allied.
“We will move through these dark days as we have moved through every dark time in our history: together with Pride!”SAM WELKER (Gainesville Pride Festival and Parade Co-Chair)