Sherrell Cross outlines plans for Dallas Pride at a recent Pride committee meeting.

Committee is adding events to the calendar because Pride is year-round

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer

Dallas Pride is adding events as it gears up for its main events — the music festival and the Pride parade set for the first weekend in June. The first two events already took place at Woody’s, said Dallas Pride Executive Director Sherrell Cross, because that was where the biggest objection about moving the parade and festival from Oak Lawn came from.

“But we’ve buried the hatchet,” Cross said. “This year, my focus is unity in the community.”

She said she was heartened to see groups like Dallas Southern Pride and Latino Pride came to the Valentine’s Day singles event at Woody’s to show support for Dallas Pride. She added that her organization is in different stages of planning additional events, including a pageant at the Round-Up Saloon and other events at the Hidden Door, Peker’s and the Caven bars, with a plan to have Dallas Pride mixers throughout the year.

“Pride is not just once a year,” Cross said. “We don’t want to be like corporations that show up once a year for Pride Month and then disappear on July 1.

Cross said this year’s festival, taking place June 1 at Fair Park, will be larger than ever. In past years, she explained, the festival has taken place only on Saturday, with the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade happening on Sunday. But this year, festival exhibitors and vendors will have the option to participate on Saturday only, or to also participate on Sunday as the festival continues through the weekend.

The plan is for the festival to run right up until the parade steps off at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 2.

Previously, the indoor part of the festival has taken place in the Centennial and Automobile buildings. This year, though, adult-themed exhibitors are welcome, and they will be housed in Grand Place. Although no deal has yet been signed, Cross said she is hoping to hold a VIP reception in the Hall of State.

“We should know by next week if it’s available for those dates,” she said. “And we’re trying to iron out the kinks for liquor sales.”

Beer and wine have been available at Pride since the celebration was moved to Fair Park in 2019. But Cross said she’s hoping to be able to expand sales to include liquor this year.

The festival is more than just booths. It’s billed as a music festival. And while “We don’t have our talent yet,” Cross said organizers “need to work on expanding what our music fest is, with all forms of music, to capture a broader audience.”

While she isn’t ready to announce who will be performing yet, Cross said she does know there will be a main stage, a community stage and a family Pride stage. On Sunday, she said, she expects the music to be supplied by DJs. But, “We may have some additional staging depending on whom we bring in,” she said.

To help with the planning, anyone may submit entertainment requests on the website,

Teen Pride will grow to reach more youth, Cross hopes, as it’s folded into the Dallas Pride organization. The Family Pride Zone will continue to participate as an independent organization.

Members of the Dallas Pride Steering Committee discuss plans for this years’ celebration.

And, Cross said, she hopes Senior Pride will be up and running as part of Dallas Pride this year. The idea was sparked by senior activist Portia Cantrell, who was last year’s Black Tie Dinner Kuchling Award recipient for her work with seniors.

The parade on Sunday could be the largest in Dallas history. One thing Dallas Pride has learned since moving to Fair Park is the flow of the parade is continuous. When marching down Cedar Springs Road, the parade had to stop several times for cross traffic on Oak Lawn Avenue to pass. In Fair Park, there’s no cross traffic to contend with, so more entries can flow in a shorter period of time.

Cross said she has one goal: for Dallas to be named the city to host WorldPride. For that to happen, she knows, Dallas Pride needs to grow — more festival entries, more parade entries, top name entertainment for the music festival and more attendees.

The last WorldPride was held in 2023 in Sydney in conjunction with Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and the next is set for 2025 in Washington, D.C. An estimated 1 million people attended WorldPride in Sydney.

Houston made a bid to host 2023 WorldPride but received only 3 percent of the vote. And Houston’s parade is already larger than Dallas,’ so Cross understands she has her work cut out for her. Hosting WorldPride would be on the scale of landing the Olympics in terms of attendance.

For now, Cross understands Dallas Pride has to grow, and she believes Fair Park is the place for it to grow. In addition to having more parking than the entertainment district in Oak Lawn, DART’s Green Line stops at the entrance to Fair Park. And staging the parade is easier from a large lot behind the Cotton Bowl than it was on Wycliff Avenue.

Cross pointed out that the parade is more accessible to those with disabilities in Fair Park, which is ADA compliant.

And Fair Park is easier for police to patrol. Safety is an issue, and Dallas Pride works well with Dallas police to keep the event as safe as possible.

Fencing around the park kept out protestors last year, but it is also is a point of contention among those who believe “Pride is a Protest,” and a parade should be where the community can see it.

As for mounting the festival, Fair Park was built to host events in ways that Reverchon Park and Turtle Creek Park simply can’t. It’s easy to separate the Family Pride Zone and Teen Pride from the rest of the festival to keep youth safe. And in Fair Park, the festival can proceed, regardless of rain or blazing heat.

Cross said she is spending much of her time signing sponsors.

“Andrews came in as a bigger sponsor than ever,” she said. “Denny’s is a bronze level sponsor.”

And new companies are close to signing that she said she can’t yet announce.

“We are looking for individuals to join the steering committee,” Cross said. “If you have a passion for volunteering, event planning, fundraising, sign up.”

She said she’s looking for new people who’ve never been part of Pride to join the organization. “And we’re non-profit, so donate, donate, donate,” she said.