SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls Pride festivities will return this summer but this time in a new location.

The annual Pride celebration first began in June of 1970 following a riot at Stonewall Inn in New York City. Organizers then marched to Central Park to celebrate gay pride. That march has evolved into an annual celebration of LGBTQ Pride with parades and events across the world in the decades since.

The first Pride parade in Sioux Falls was held in 2019 with events and celebrations dating back to the 2000s. Rachel Polan, marketing director for Sioux Falls Pride said that in Sioux Falls, Pride events increase visibility and education about the LGBTQ community.

“Pride means something different to everyone, and we strive to highlight the diversity of voices that make up our community,” Polan wrote in an email to KELOLAND News.

In past years, Polan said that Pride events were only held in the days leading up to the event but as the celebration grows, they are now able to hold events throughout the entire month of June. Until 2021, the celebration was held at Terrace Park in Sioux Falls, but organizers say they outgrew the space. That’s why they moved their celebrations downtown to Cherapa Place.

“The City of Sioux Falls let us know that we had reached capacity for Terrace Park and needed to find a different venue shortly after our celebrations in 2019,” Polan said. “Cherapa Place worked with us to host an amazing festival on short notice in 2021 as we navigated the challenges of COVID-19.”

But now, due to construction at the Cherapa building, the Pride event will make the move down the road to 8th and Railroad. That will allow the parade to move along 8th Street down toward the Railroad Center. The event will be family friendly and will include a kid’s area with drag story time. For those over the age of 21, there will be a beer garden throughout the day and an afterparty in the evening.

“Pride means something different to everyone you ask, but for many, it’s a safe space to be yourself without judgement.”

Rachel Polan

New this year will be a Two-Spirit Powwow during Pride Week in partnership with South Dakota Urban Indian Health.

In 2022 there has been several pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation passed across the country including a transgender athlete ban here in South Dakota and Iowa and the ‘Don’t Say Gay‘ bill in Florida. Polan says that Pride exists not just to celebrate members of the LGBTQ community, but to educate those outside of it as well.

“The legislation this year tells us there’s still a lot of work to be done, and that it is more important than ever to be out and proud of who we are,” Polan said. “With the influx of legislation, Sioux Falls Pride is in the process of creating a sister 501c4 organization specifically to advocate for the rights of LGBTQA+ and Two-Spirit South Dakotans called “Sioux Falls Pride Equity Network”. 

The parade will start at 8th Street and Dakota Avenue beginning at 11 a.m. on June 18th and continue down 8th Street until it reaches Railroad Center. More Pride Month events will be announced soon through the Sioux Falls Pride website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.