Charlotte Pride breaks 100,000 attendance record!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 18, 2014
For first time, Charlotte Pride breaks 100,000+ in two-day festival and parade attendance
Annual event attracts locals, visitors from across region and nation
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the first time in its 14-year history, organizers of the Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade have estimated attendance breaking 100,000 people over the course of the weekend. The initial estimated attendance figures represent a milestone achievement for the organization, which has experienced record year-over-year growth since moving to the streets of Uptown Charlotte in 2011. Last year, the group hosted the first lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Pride parade in Charlotte in nearly 20 years.
In the lead up to the event, organizers had expected to match and beat last year’s attendance figure of 80,000 people. Some leaders – including Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade Grand Marshal Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield — had told local media they expected the event to grow to 100,000 or more this year.
The record-breaking figure comes as Charlotte Pride enjoys continued success with a variety of corporate, non-profit and local sponsors and partners, including presenting sponsors: Wells Fargo, which presented the Wells Fargo Stage where LeAnn Rimes headlined on Sunday; Time Warner Cable, which presented the Charlotte Pride VIP Experience; The Scorpio, which presented R&B artist and Saturday headliner Sevyn Streeter, as well as entertainers from “RuPaul’s Drag Race;” PNC Bank, which presented the PNC Bank Festival Zone and Bank of America, the parade’s presenting sponsor.
Charlotte Pride is also encouraged by the support of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority — a sign of the annual event’s ability to attract visitors from across the region and nation. This year, Charlotte Pride had visitors from Atlanta, New York City, Houston, Columbus, and Los Angeles, among many other cities and states.
The two-day festival and parade highlights the social, cultural, ethnic, artistic and civic diversity of the Charlotte-metro region’s LGBTQ and ally communities. Founded in 2001, the event was held in Marshall Park through 2005. It moved to various locations 2006-2010, attracting as many as 10,000 attendees for a one-day festival each year. In 2011, the event moved to S. Tryon Street and more than doubled its attendance to 27,000 or more people. In 2012, the event grew to a two-day festival and attracted more than 45,000 people just one week before the Democratic National Convention. Last year, more than 80,000 people attended, including more than 45,000 alone for the Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade, the first held in Charlotte since 1994.
Organizers are still compiling final attendance numbers and other figures. Attendance estimates are based on a variety of metrics, including significant increases in the number of people and floats participating in the parade, from 83 entries and four floats in 2013 to more than 100 entries and 23 floats in this year’s parade. Vendors also substantially increased to over 150 participating businesses and groups this year. In conversations with sponsors, partners, vendors, spectators, city officials and others, all unanimously agreed on the increased size of the event this year. Additionally, organizers estimate on-site concession and T-shirt sales increased by at least 25-30 percent over 2013.
Charlotte Pride is grateful for all of the support it has received and it is especially thankful for all the hard work and dedication of hundreds of community members and volunteers who made the event’s operation possible. Charlotte Pride looks forward to successful planning for its event next year, slated for August 2015. For more information, photos from this year’s event or to learn how you can get involved, visit charlottepride.org.
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