Among the various Pride events in major cities across the United States, Charleston’s event is still relatively new. The upcoming Charleston Pride, running July 12-15, marks the third annual event for the group. For an event that’s still in its infancy, though, its organizers certainly know how to put on a show.
Atlanta-based Chris Coleman Enterprises is among the producers of this year’s activities. Along with co-sponsors Revolve Paper, Chris Coleman is producing this year’s evening festivities, along with the closing Folly Beach party on Sunday. Atlantans will know Coleman’s work from his annual Atlanta Pride closing party at Opera.
Coleman’s series of events kick off with a meet and greet Friday at the host hotel, the Mills House. There will be representatives from several of the main sponsors of Charleston Pride, including drinks provided by Red Bull, Absolut, Bud Light, and Barefoot Wine.
Friday night’s main events start off with the Empress and Emperor Pageant at the Music Farm. The pageant includes categories such as Evening Gown, Creative Pride Wear, and Talent. Entertainment and hosting will be provided by Brook Collins and Ava Clear, along with performances by Coti Collins and Justin Atlanta.
Immediately following the Empress and Emperor Pageant is the Sin party, which includes dance music courtesy of DJ Oren Nizri and an underwear fashion show. There will also be some special guest performances, according to Coleman The event takes place at the Music Farm beginning at 9 p.m. Presale tickets are $15.
During the day on Saturday, Charleston Pride will hold its annual pride parade. Kicking off at 11 a.m., the parade will take over the Park Circle area of North Charleston. Immediately following the parade is the Charleston Pride Rally at River Front Park. The rally includes a number of vendors and performers, including American Idol’s EJay Day and Chad Michaels from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Coleman also teases that a second American Idolalum will be performing as a surprise.
Saturday night sees the Neptune party take over the South Carolina Aquarium’s Atrium. DJ Manny Lehman will provide the night’s music, while the party itself will include a fashion show. Headlining the event is Chad Michaels. Tickets begin at $25, and the doors open at 9 p.m.
Following the Neptune party is the Worship party, also held at the South Carolina Aquarium in the Fish Tank Ballroom. The after-hours party will include Atlanta’s DJ Lydia Prim providing music, along with headliner Chad Michaels. Ticket prices begin at $25. The after-hours party begins goes from 2-5 a.m.
Finally, the Folly Beach Party will close out Charleston Pride 2012. Taking place at (yes, you guessed correctly) Folly Beach, the event runs from 12-7 p.m. Music will be provided by DJ Scorpio throughout the event, while a fashion show will also take place during the event. Transportation will be provided from the host hotel to Folly Beach.
For those who are less party-inclined, Charleston Pride does offer a number of other events. On the opening night of Charleston Pride, the schedule is dominated by the arts, with film, literature, and local art each having an outlet in Charleston’s Park Circle. Opening the evening is the second annual “Art for Pride” Art Walk at 5 p.m. on July 12. The Art Walk features local LGBT artists, both new and established. Attendees can get information about the artists and businesses involved during the event at the North Charleston Meeting Place, which serves as the center of the event. The event itself runs over a number of businesses in North Charleston’s Old Business District on East Montague in Park Circle.
Concurrently, the LGBT Film Festival will be screening two films at the Old North Charleston Picture House in Park Circle. The festival starts with Breakfast with Scot at 7 p.m., followed by a screening of Pariah at 9 p.m. Also at 7 p.m., Gay In America author Scott Pasfield will take part in a meet-and-greet at South of Broadway. The event includes a presentation from Pasfield at 7:30, along with a panel discussion and a book signing. Finally for Thursday, the group Takeover Charleston will host a kickoff party from 6-10 p.m. in Park Circle.
With many pride events taking place in June, Charleston Pride has an advantage all its own by taking place a month later. With Charleston being less than six hours away from Atlanta, Atlantans looking for a Pride to attend before our own happens in October still have a promising option.