Charlotte Pride celebrates record attendance for 2016 festival and parade

Organization estimates attendance at 130,000, with significant gains during this year’s parade

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Photo Copyright Jennifer L Hogan (HoganImaging.com)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Pride, a local non-profit organization which creates programs and activities to enrich, empower, strengthen and make visible the unique lives and experiences of LGBTQ people in Charlotte and the Carolinas, presented its annual Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade on Aug. 20-21, 2016, in Uptown Charlotte. The organization had expected to meet or exceed last year’s attendance figures and has estimated a total of 130,000 visitors over the course of the weekend event, a nearly 10 percent increase over 2015 attendance. Final attendance figures will be estimated after the organization completes its annual event attendee survey in the next several weeks.

This year saw significant attention for and increases at the Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade, which grew from 120 to over 140 marching contingents and witnessed a nearly 1,000-person increase for a total of 3,500 individual marchers. Organizers estimate that approximately 60,000 or more people attended the parade on Sunday, Aug. 21. In 2015, Charlotte Pride estimated that 120,000 visitors attended events over the course of the Aug. 15-16, 2015, events, with approximately 50,000 spectators at the parade.

The PNC Bank Festival Zone, stretching the length of S. Tryon St., from Trade St. to Stonewall St., experienced consistent attendance compared to 2015, with significant increases in crowd interactions at the Wells Fargo Stage.

“Since moving to Uptown in 2011, our festival and parade has continued to reach new heights and records,” said Craig Hopkins, president of the Charlotte Pride Board of Directors. “Initial attendee survey results, on-site sales and other data point to another record year for our largest annual fundraiser, which makes our year-round community programming and activities possible.”

Hopkins added, “We were pleased to see several areas of positive growth. It appeared there were a larger number of youth present and the crowd appeared to be much more diverse.”

Daniel Valdez, vice president of the Charlotte Pride Board of Directors, said the organization’s staff, volunteers and partnerships made the event run as smoothly as ever.

“We’re proud of our staff and the hundreds of volunteers without whom the weekend’s events would not have been possible,” Valdez said. “Their hard work and dedication continue to make the Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade one of the city’s premier civic events. We are thankful for the continued support of and successful partnerships with the city, law enforcement and medical personnel, sponsors and all of our community partners.”

Charlotte Pride first moved its event to S. Tryon St. in 2011, attracting an estimated 27,000 visitors that year. In 2012, its event grew to two days, attracting more than 45,000 visitors just one week before the Democratic National Convention. In 2013, the Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade was added to the event’s second-day schedule, growing overall attendance to 80,000. The event reached its milestone 100,000 attendance mark in 2014, and in 2015 saw 120,000 visitors over the course of the weekend. Last year’s event had a $11.9 million economic impact from out-of-town visitors with $7.2 million in direct visitor spending supporting 114 full-time jobs and generating nearly $500,000 in county taxes, according to a study commissioned by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

For more information on this year’s event, visit charlottepride.org. A photo gallery can be found at charlottepride.org/photos/. High-resolution photos are available to media by request. A full list of Charlotte Pride sponsors and partners can be found at charlottepride.org/sponsors/.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 25, 2016
Media Contact: Matt Comer, 704-625-6449, media@charlottepride.org

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Posted in Press Releases & Media Statements.