Rhode Island, the smallest state in our union, threw an unbelievable 3-day Pride celebration that was filled with a ton of wonderful performers, block parties and more.
I’m privy to what this state has to offer, both from an LGBTQ perspective and not. I went to school in its capital city of Providence for five years due to the plethora of gay nightlife that exists, which far exceeded where I grew up in the somewhat conservative Long Island area of New York.
The amount of love and support that this state has for its LGBTQ people is nothing short of spectacular. Every person I talked to this past weekend had so much dedication and heart for what they were doing which was bursting at the seams at every event I went to.
This is nothing new to me, but new to many of the people I traveled with and others who have never been to this fabulous part of New England. Providence alone has so many amazing gay bars that provide our community with an immeasurable experience at each.
It’s a testament to the city of Providence that it can compete with some of the big dogs around them, like New York City and Boston, and thrive on what it has to offer compared to the other well-known places.
Not only that, but Providence has a lot going for it in other areas that aren’t LGBTQ specific. It’s booming foodie scene continues to dazzle and delight its tourists and locals due to the variety of cuisines that are available at your disposal. Everything from Rosalina (delicious Italian fare like Pizettes, Meatballs and Cioppino), Yoleni’s (Greek brunch done in all the right ways) and Sarto (rustic Italian fare in the heart of downtown Providence) are just three examples of amazing options you can try while there.
Let’s veer back on track for the LGBTQ portion of this weekend, which pretty much took over my life in all its glory. There were several parties that kicked off Rhode Island Pride on Friday which featured major performances from acts like legendary girl group Expose (“Point of No Return”) and more.
These took place at two iconic Providence gay spaces: The Stable and The Dark Lady. Both have been in the area for years and have given locals and tourists a reason to party it up all night long with its welcoming environment and fun atmosphere.
The RI Pride Festival kicked off an exciting Saturday. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for this type of event which saw thousands of people party it up all afternoon amongst all the fantastic vendors and performances happening on stage. Several RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni, like season 10’s Monique Heart, got the audience pumped while the sun beat down. That energy quickly made its way into the nighttime where the most special event happened (in my opinion).
The Illuminated Night Parade literally lit up downtown Providence as the night went on. Tons of organizations, companies, bars and more sashayed their way down Weybosset Street in their colorful creations, dance numbers and more that left this writer a little teary eyed. Something that really made me happy was the amount of LGBTQ youth that took over the streets of Providence. You could see the Pride in all of their eyes which made me happy that the generations to come will hopefully have a much easier experience in being their true selves compared to the ones before them.
A massive block party took place after that at another popular LGBTQ hangout: EGO Providence. Here RPDR alumna Nina Flowers and Alex Acosta kept the crowd pumped all night with their infectious jams.
Our trip ended with a yummy drag brunch at the Graduate Providence, which is only steps away from the Providence Place Mall and a myriad of other fun places. Jasmine Masters and other local talent put on one hell of a show while we dined on eggs, pasta, meat and more. It was a great way to end what was already an amazing time.
Rhode Island Pride really went above and beyond my expectations and many others. This is a state you should visit no matter what the reason is, LGBTQ or not. I fell in love with it when I first started going here fifteen years ago and my love affair continues to this day.
For more information on Rhode Island Pride, click here.