Marsha Dimes emceed two shows at Fair Park to celebrate Dallas Pride in 2021

Dallas Pride festivities kicked off the 2021 Pride season in DFW, but it was certainly not the only Pride party in North Texas this year. Longview held a June Pride event in a city park. Denton Pride, which has become a staple of Pride season, was back. And Carrollton saw its first Pride celebration in June. Dallas Southern Pride’s Juneteenth celebration was bigger and bolder than ever, and in September, Dallas Southern Pride and Texas Latino Pride returned as well.

Speaking of firsts, New Braunfels hosted its first Pride party the weekend of June 26 in Landa Park.

In Rowlett, the mayor issued a Pride proclamation and lit up a city water tower in rainbow colors. That proclamation remained in place, despite demands by detractors that it be rescinded, but council members made sure that could never happen again by passing an ordinance declaring that going forward all proclamations must have the support of the full council.

The Fort Worth City Council issued a Pride proclamation, as did the Dallas County Commissioners Court. And Northaven Church held its second Pride parade, disrupting traffic along one block of Preston Road in North Dallas and pissing off a number of drivers, while delighting many more. Now isn’t that what Pride’s all about?

In 2020 Dallas Pride was moved to July and was a completely virtual event. By June 2021, though, the comeback had begun, with organizers staging two live shows — on Friday and Saturday nights, June 4-5, at Fair Park

Although initially planned for the outdoor bandshell at Fair Park, the two shows were moved indoors to the Fair Park Coliseum at the last minute when organizers learned severe weather was expected.

Arts District Pride, cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, returned in June 2021 back with a Names Project Quilt display at the Crow Museum, LGBTQ artists in the collection highlighted at the Dallas Museum of Art and pop-up concerts along Flora Street.

The Dallas Holocaust Museum, in the West End, participated by offering Arts District Pride participants discounted admission. TITUS hosted Complexions Contemporary Ballet. The DMA handed out art kits, and the Nasher featured select sculptors.

For those not ready to attend an in-person event, Arts District Pride also offered a virtual option for many of the performances.

The Dallas Wings held a somewhat-socially-distanced Pride Night event in June, with Dallas Wings Pride T-shirts on sale around the arena. The scoreboard kept flashing Pride facts to the crowd, and Pride flags flew around College Park Arena.

Dallas Southern Pride roared back in 2021 with the annual Juneteenth celebration, and this one was bigger and better than before. Various parties were held at venues around town throughout the weekend with appearances by Lil’Kim, Rick Ross, Erykah Badu and more.

By September, in-person outdoor events were happening again. So Morris Garcia and his team of organizers pulled together North Texas Pride on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Arts Center of Plano and adjoining Haggard Park.

At the end of September, Dallas Southern Pride pulled off the largest Pride event of the year and one of the largest Black Pride events in the country. The event is held the same weekend as The State Fair Classic — the annual football game between Prairie View A&M and Grambling State University played in the Cotton Bowl at Fair Park.

While a weekend full of parties and performances make up its core, Dallas Southern Pride has always included elements aimed at awareness, education, support and health, such as testing for HIV and STIs. In the past 19 months, COVID-19 testing and awareness have been added to the list.

— David Taffet