After canceling 2020’s PrideFest on account of a pandemic and turning last year’s celebration into a smaller-scale autumnal event called “PridetoberFest,” festival organizers officially announced PrideFest Milwaukee will be returning this June.

This morning, Milwaukee Pride Inc. president Wes Shaver issued a press release formally announcing PrideFest Milwaukee’s 2022 dates, as well as some exciting changes and promotions attendees can expect. This year’s festival will take place June 2-4 at Henry Maier Festival Park. The event will be the 25th PrideFest held in June, and organizers will acknowledge that 1996 move to Henry Maier Festival Park with a “Throwback Thursday” promotion on June 2 that will bring ’90s-themed entertainers to the festival stages, 1996 pricing on all beverages from 4-8 p.m. on opening night, and a Thursday deal that allows people to get into PrideFest from 4-6 p.m. in exchange for four non-perishable food items.

Beyond the “Throwback Thursday” promo and pricing, PrideFest will also look a little different this year because it will be utilizing stages and amenities on the northern part of the festival grounds instead of the stages in the middle of the ground that it has utilized in previous years.

“PrideFest will be different this June,” the press release says. “The revamped and imagined footprint of the festival grounds includes new stages, food vendor buildings, an expanded Health & Wellness area, children’s & family programing and more. The festival will use primarily the north part of the park spanning from the Midgate all the way north, offering new experiences for the festival guest. As always, PrideFest will include a fireworks display.”

Stay tuned for more information on PrideFest Milwaukee’s 2022 lineup in the coming weeks. Until then, save the date because PrideFest is officially coming back June 2-4. You can read the full press release below:

Photo by Meg Strobel

THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN: PRIDEFEST SCHEDULED AT HENRY MAIER FESTIVAL PARK JUNE 2-4, 2022 TO CELEBRATE 25TH JUNE FESTIVAL

Milwaukee, WI – Tuesday, March 15, 2022 – Milwaukee Pride, Inc. – parent organization of PrideFest, Wisconsin’s largest LGBTQ+ event announced PrideFest will return to Henry Maier Festival Park to kick off Milwaukee’s festival season. The long-standing June festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 festival marks the 25th PrideFest held in June; the event moved to the park in 1996. This year’s festival will be a three-day event, Thursday-Saturday, June 2-4, 2022.

“I couldn’t be happier to make this announcement,” said Wes Shaver, President, Milwaukee Pride, Inc. “It’s time to push forward and bring back the events and community functions that make Milwaukee so special; celebrating people is something this city does better than anywhere else…and it’s an honor to once again kick off festival season. Let’s get back to strengthening our social fabric and raising a glass together!” he added.

PrideFest will be different this June; The revamped and imagined footprint of the festival grounds includes new stages, food vendor buildings, an expanded Health & Wellness area, children’s & family programing and more. The festival will use primarily the north part of the park spanning from the Midgate all the way north, offering new experiences for the festival guest. As always, PrideFest will include a fireworks display.

In celebration of the 25th June Festival, organizers are planning a full line up of “Throwback Thursday” themed acts and promotions to honor the event’s past and 1996 move to the park. To support local food pantries, guests can bring 4 canned, non-perishable food items for admission on Thursday from 4-6pm (The 4 cans is representative of the $4 gate admission to the 1996 festival). From 4-8pm, guests 21+ older can enjoy Happy Hour that includes 1996 pricing for beer, wine, cocktails, and soda. The evening’s program will feature a dynamic and energetic line up of 90’s music along with drag shows, entertainers, DJs and more.

Navigating the obstacles of COVID-19 was challenging for Milwaukee Pride’s board of directors. PrideFest is the sole revenue provider for the organization and funds 100% of the charitable and community reinvestments Milwaukee Pride contributes across the city and state.

Organizers put forth energy into an all new event, PridetoberFest that ran October 8-9, 2021 in an effort to provide an outlet to celebrate PRIDE and also serve as an exercise to reassemble the festival production team and start recruiting volunteers. PridetoberFest was much needed at the time after a two summer hiatus; that event activated the local business community, engaging and hiring local LGBTQ+ entertainers and service providers and creating a safe, affirming, and welcoming space for all.

“Milwaukee Pride received zero dollars in governmental aid, stimulus programs, grants or PPP funding,” said Wes Shaver. “It’s a daunting task, moving forward producing a seven figure event knowing you need to be cognizant of the lack of revenue for two whole years and how that’s impacted the planning process. I am very proud of our team and the work done to operate a professional, sustainable, and thoughtful event AND organization. It’s no easy task,” he added.

Organizers will announce acts, programming, and online ticket sales in the weeks to come.

For more information, please contact Wes Shaver at [email protected] or call 718-962-5639. Follow Milwaukee Pride on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates.

About The Author

Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.

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