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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The Oklahoma City Pride Parade downtown was cancelled because of lightning in the early morning Saturday but the crowd came out later in the day to enjoy the second day of the three-day festival.

As the day progressed and the sun came out for a while, so did people who wanted to take in the festival. By evening, the park was getting crowded as it had been Friday evening to hear headliner and Edmond native Greyson Chance perform.

Vendor tents were busy and acts coming onto the main stage on the Great Lawn revved up the growing crowd as the afternoon went on.

OKC Pride Festival
People in front of the main stage spontaneously danced and and celebrated at the OKC Pride Festival 2021. (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

For full info on the Festival including schedules see our preview of the weekend.

The energy of the crowd was obvious in conversations, play on the expansive lawn, and dancing during performances.

It was nearly impossible for a reasonable mind to find any stereotype of a 2SLGBTQ+ person at the Festival with the broad spectrum of people enjoying themselves.

OKC Pride Festival
As acts on the main stage performed, members of the crowd like Prada (in white) celebrated and entertained each other, too, at the OKC Pride Festival June 2021. (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

Weather precautions

With weather still being unpredictable over the weekend, Hannah Royce, President of the Oklahoma City Pride Alliance wanted to assure those who want to come to the Festival that precautions are in place to monitor the possibility of lightning from the unstable weather this weekend.

“The park rangers call things off on stage when lightning is about three miles out,” Royce told Free Press. So, we will notify everybody on the main stage. Then, … as soon as [weather events] come in and go away like they do in Oklahoma Weather then we will start things back up. We will just go by the time that are listed on the schedule.”

OKC Pride Festival
The Pride flags in front of the new Convention Center were deeply symbolic of just how far 2SLGBTQ+ recognition and acceptance has come in Oklahoma City in the past 50 years. (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

Royce said that they will stay with the schedule even if some acts have to be taken off stage for their safety because of weather. They will still get paid but they will be cut and the schedule will stay on time.

For Sunday, Royce said that if there is a repeat of the morning rains the yoga and wellness activities will move to the Sky Rink by the Skydance Bridge on the south end of Scissortail Park.

Arrival

In many ways, people seemed to be ready to celebrate in the new, more prominent downtown location, a symbolic achievement in that Pride events are no longer unaccepted in the larger life of Oklahoma City.

Not that many years ago Oklahoma City Police officers would harass, abuse, and arrest people along the Strip and in other spots around the city simply for being queer.

In contrast, two years ago Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt began what is a regular thing by declaring Pride Week. This year, Holt issued a proclamation declaring June to be “Pride Month,” only the second declaration of Pride Month and third of any declaration in the city’s history.

And the City Council of Oklahoma City officially recognized Pride Week in their last meeting.

This is the first time any organized Pride events have been held outside of the Strip on N.W. 39th Street. A Pride parade will be held there in September.

OKC Pride Festival
Hannah Royce, President of the Oklahoma City Pride Alliance managed to keep a positive attitude as the day moved along from the disappointing cancelation of the parade in the early morning due to lightning. (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

Last Updated June 26, 2021, 8:40 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor