The Complete Guide to North Carolina Pride Events

LGBTQ+ North Carolina Pride Guide
Photo by Zera Ruzgar from AdobeStock

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North Carolina Pride Events are where communities come together to celebrate and show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. Occurring at different times of the year, Pride Events can be found throughout the state, with each offering its own unique experience. Check out our breakdown of the best Pride events happening throughout the year in the Tar Heel State, with our complete guide to North Carolina Pride.

Asheville Pride Events

Blue Ridge Pride Festival – Asheville’s Pride Week culminates with the ever-popular and widely attended Blue Ridge Pride Festival, a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Taking place annually in Pack Square Park, usually in September, this themed event features two stages showcasing local musicians and a host of talented entertainers. With over 150 vendors and organizations, attendees can find everything they’re looking for, from clothing and accessories to food and education. It’s an opportunity to discover and support organizations dedicated to social justice and enjoy delicious treats from different food vendors.

Burlington Pride Events

Alamance Pride Festival – An annual event in October to coincide with National LGBT History Month and National Coming Out Month, the Alamance Pride Festival draws nearly 2,500 people who come to enjoy live music, a DJ, a vendor fair, food trucks, a drag show, drag queen story time, and more.

Burnsville Pride Events

Apex Pride Fall Picnic – Typically taking place in October, you can join Apex Pride at its Fall Picnic celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and their loved ones. The event features live music, free food, vendors, a Kids Zone with inflatables, games and  activities, a food truck rodeo, and local vendors.

Carolina Beach Pride Events

Pleasure Island Pride in Carolina Beach – The Carolina Beach Bar Club and the LGBT Center of the Cape Fear Coast are your hosts for the annual Pleasure Island Pride in Carolina Beach. This week-long Pride celebration, usually occurring in June, and sponsored by Pleasure Island Pride, kicks off with The Agayzing Race Scavenger Hunt and Kickoff Party. Other events throughout the week include the Battle of the Bartenders, the Sandy Balls Bocce Tournament, a Drag Brunch, Drag Shows, and a Pride Dinner and Drink Pairing. With raffles, live music, performances, Pride merchandise, and much more, you are guaranteed a good time. Plus, since all proceeds go directly to support the work of the LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear Coast, you are also making a meaningful contribution to the LGBTQ+ community. 

Charlotte Pride Events

Charlotte Black Pride –  A week-long series of themed events in July, sponsored and organized by the non-profit, Charlotte Black Pride, makes its mission “to hold up a safe space to recognize and celebrate diversity within the Charlotte LGBTQ+ community.” Events include the Charlotte Black Pride Pageant, a Made for Now Wellness Party, a Made for Now Peace Rally, and culminates with the Expo Extravaganza, an indoor event featuring more than 40 business and community vendors, live music, entertainment, and food. Admission is free to the public and all are welcome to attend. 

Charlotte Pride Festival – Uptown Charlotte hosts the largest street festival offering connections to LGBTQ resources, entertainment, and community engagement. The two-day sponsored and hosted by Charlotte Pride, features national, regional, and local entertainers, musicians, and bands, along with numerous vendor booths of art exhibits, local nonprofits, retail outlets, and a food court. It’s a family-friendly event offering arts and crafts, community resources, a family care tent, and special speakers and entertainers. Admission is free.

Durham Pride Events

Durham Bulls Pride Night – The Durham Bulls hosts the annual Durham Bulls Pride Night, in partnership with Equality NC, the LGBTQ Center of Durham, and the Durham Police Department. The night features a ceremonial first pitch by a local member of the LGBTQ+ community, and the raising of a Bulls Pride flag in centerfield by an Equality NC representative. A Bulls Pride flag is also displayed on the field to be auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting the LGBTQ Center of Durham.

Durham Pride Parade & Festival – Hosted by Pride: Durham, this annual celebration of equality usually takes place on the last Saturday in September. The parade features costumed marchers, decorated floats, and vehicles, and is followed by a festival that includes vendors, speeches, and entertainment. Pride parties held throughout the Triangle area, provide an opportunity to support inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.

Fayetteville Pride Events

Fayetteville Pridefest is the city’s largest LGBTQ+ event, and takes place at Festival Park with thousands expected to attend. This family-friendly, weekend-long festival, open to the public and free of charge, has something for everyone including live entertainment, food trucks, local vendors, and children’s activities, all organized by the nonprofit, Fayetteville PRIDE. The schedule includes children’s storytime sessions with different drag queens, where the  kids can engage in craft activities, drag artists performing on stage, and a runway walk-off challenge. A great event, especially for the LGBTQ+ youth as it provides a sense of belonging and community, where they can just be who they are.

Greensboro Pride Events

Greensboro Pride Festival – You are invited to join Greensboro Pride as it takes over downtown Greensboro, usually on a Saturday in September. The event is free and open to the public, providing a day of fun, food, music, and performances from local artists, performers, and entertainers throughout the day. Featuring close to 200 vendors, food trucks, a KidZone with lots of family-friendly activities, and a concert featuring local up-and-coming stars, it’s a day filled with all the Pride you can imagine!

Hendersonville Pride Events

Pride Picnic – Hosted by Hendersonville Pride, and attended by more than 500 locals and visitors, this annual Pot-Luck, typically taking place in June, is a free, family-friendly event. The Picnic features local exhibitors, music, speeches commemorating Pride Day, food trucks, and an assortment of activities such as face painting, yoga, and card readings. An after-party, including games, rock painting, reiki, and massages, wraps up the day’s festivities in Hendersonville.

Hickory Pride Events

Catawba Valley Pride Festival – Organized by Catawba Valley Pride, the Catawba Valley Pride Festival is an annual, free event, historically in September, at the SALT Block in downtown Hickory. It features a family-friendly vendor fair, drag entertainment, music, dancing, food, and “The world’s smallest Pride Parade.” 

Jacksonville Pride Events

ONE COMMUNITY Pride Festival –  sponsored by ONE COMMUNITY Pride, the Festival in Jacksonville is typically celebrated on a Saturday in June. The event includes food trucks, a youth area for arts and crafts, health screenings and prevention services provided by the Onslow County Health Department and Onslow Memorial Hospital, along with 40 additional vendors. Entertainment includes a series of drag performances highlighting the celebration.

Monroe Pride Events

Union County Pride in the Park – Offering something for everyone, Union County Pride in the Park is a festival for all ages. Activities and attractions include a Splash Pad and playground for kids, marketplace vendors, food trucks, a public picnic area, and an amphitheater with live musical and artistic performances. There’s also a VIP area with a Health Center for those interested in health and wellness, and free shuttle service from all parking areas to the festival.

Mooresville Pride Events

Mooresville Pride Parade – Typically taking place on a Saturday in October, and organized by the LGBTQ+ youth advocacy group C.L.E.V.E.R., that believes that “Pride is still a protest,” more than 250 individuals along with Equality NC  participate in the downtown Mooresville Main Street Pride Parade.

Outer Banks Pride Events

OBX Pridefest – A two-day event, featuring a DJ Dance Party, a Drag Brunch, and a Pridefest Kick-Off Party are the lead ups to the highlight of the weekend, the all-inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community, supporters, friends, and allies, the annual OBX Pridefest. This free, family-friendly event, that typically takes place in September, draws nearly 1,000 tourists to the Outer Banks each year. The Festival features bands, local restaurants, drag queens, live performances, adult beverages, and a mix of vendors from the community.

Raleigh Pride Events

Out! Raleigh Pride Festival – The LGBT Center of Raleigh sponsors the annual family-friendly street festival, celebrating the LGBTQ community and its allies. Bringing a day of fun, family-friendly activities to downtown, the Out! Raleigh Pride Festival features a marching band, a Kids Zone, local vendors and artists, food options, a beer garden, and a Wellness Pavilion, providing services to the LGBTQ+ community. More than 75,000 people are expected to attend this free event.

NC State PrideFest – In recognition of National Coming Out Day and LGBTQ+ History Month, campus partners at NC State host the annual NC State Pridefest in October, previously known as Pride Walk. PrideFest is a celebration of the NC State LGBTQ+ community, and is open to all students and community members. The LGBTQ Pride Center collaborates with academic departments across campus to showcase “Pack Pride.” The event includes sign and T-shirt decorating, a Fun, Relax and Restore fair with food trucks, self-care vendors, and a parade across the main campus in Raleigh..

Shelby Pride Events

Shelby Pride Festival – Held in uptown Shelby on the Court Square, the Shelby Pride Festival is the creation of Shelby Pride, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the local LGBTQ+ community. The festival features more than 20 vendors, offering food, drinks, sweets, and more, and all are welcome and invited to attend.

Southern Pines/Pinehurst  Pride Events

Pride in the Pines PRIDEFest – Hosted by Sandhills PRIDE, Pride in the Pines PRIDEfest is the Sandhills Region’s annual LGBTQ+ Pride festival. This grassroots event welcomes the LGBTQ+ community, family, friends, and allies for a day of festivities at Pinehurst, including entertainment, food, vendors, and more. The festival is held at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines and features over 25 Pride-supporting vendors and artists. It’s an opportunity to come together for an afternoon of celebration and fun.

Statesville Pride Events

Statesville  Pride Parade & Festival – Downtown Statesville is where the LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride at the Statesville Pride Parade & Festival, where rainbows, smiles, and “Mom hugs” are in abundance. Drawing hundreds of people to this one-day event, the day starts with a parade through the downtown area, and continues with a festival where dozens of local vendors and LGBTQ+ supportive organizations await the festival goers, along with food vendors and a stage for live music and drag performances.

Sylva Pride Events

Sylva Pride Parade and Festival – Join Sylva Pride for its annual Pride Parade & Festival in Bridge Park. The event kicks off with live music on the Bridge Park stage followed by a parade of marchers through downtown Sylva and back to the park where nearly 50 vendors, a variety of crafts, local speakers, and a family-friendly drag show await.

Wilmington Pride Events

Here and Queer Festival – The Soda Pop district is the place to be as Pride Month celebrations kick off in Wilmington. It’s the annual Here and Queer Festival, with over 30 vendors selling all sorts of cool stuff like ceramics, vintage clothes, and art, as attendees enjoy continuous live music. One vendor in particular, After the Bloom, a dried floral and lifestyle business, donates a portion of all sales each year directly to gender-expansive folks needing some love. Topping off the day is the painting of a community mural, where everyone is invited to join in to “make their mark on it.” 

Port City Pride Dock Street Block Party –  The Port City Pride Dock Street Block Party is where people from all over North Carolina come together to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride in Wilmington. Like a big outdoor party with music, dancing, vendors lining the streets, and plenty of family-friendly activities, you can find delicious food, original art, and learn about different organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a time to show love, support, and have a great time with friends, family, and allies. The block party is about being proud of who you are and spreading the message that love and acceptance are for everyone, no matter who you are or who you love.

Adult Pride Prom – The LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear Coast hosts this one-of-a-kind event in Wilmington. This glamorous soirée invites the “over 21” LGBTQ+ community to don their most elegant attire, dance the night away, and watch the coronation of the Pride Majesty on the Genderless Prom Court. Ticket price includes light appetizers, with all proceeds benefiting the vital work of advocacy, programming, and outreach for the LGBTQ+ community done by the LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear Coast. There is also a cash bar as well as a food truck on site, so put on your dancing shoes, tux, or prom gown to celebrate and contribute to a great cause all in one evening!

Born This Way Pride Celebration is all about spreading love and advocating for equality. With drag show performances, local vendors offering lots of fun activities, a food truck, and a DJ to keep the music going, all you need to do is don your sparkles and rainbows, and join in this celebration of Pride in Wilmington!

Family Pride Picnic – Keep your Saturdays open in June for the Family Pride Picnic in Wilmington taking place in the picnic shelter adjacent to the splash pad, reserved annually for this event. Families are encouraged to join in, kids in tow, along with a dish or two for sharing, creating the perfect recipe for a fun-filled, family-friendly afternoon. For those who prefer to “stay dry,”  there are volleyball courts and cornhole games for you to enjoy. Whether you’re part of a traditional family or not, you are part of the LGBTQ+ family and welcomed to celebrate its beautiful diversity 

Wilson Pride Events

Wilson Pride – With more than 2000 people expected to attend, Wilson Pride is a spectacle to behold. Local vendors, sweet treats of cupcakes and rainbow cake, Pride bingo, drag performances, lip sync battles, a “Show Your Pride” photo booth, live music, a Kid Zone, and exclusive Wilson Pride merchandise are just some of what you can expect at this one-day event. For those interested in activism and advocacy, there’s a Resource Fair showcasing non-profits and resources for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies. There’s also a Diversity and Inclusion training that covers topics including how to be a trans ally, breaking down gender binaries, and understanding gender identity.

Wilkesboro Pride Events

Wilkes True Colors Pride Fest is an outdoor event featuring live music, drag performances, vendors, food trucks, kid’s face painting, kids coloring booth, a selfie booth, and more. All are welcome for this day of fun and celebration followed by an “over 21” after party at a local Wilkesboro watering hole.

Winston-Salem Pride Events

Winston-Salem Pride Festival & Parade, sponsored by Winston-Salem Pride, is the kickoff event of a weeklong celebration of love, unity, and equal rights in the downtown Arts District. Winston-Salem has been recognized by Travel + Leisure as a Top 10 destination to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month. This free, family-friendly event welcomes everyone, providing live music, entertainment, street vendors, hands-on activities, and, of course, a parade. The Winston-Salem Pride Festival and Parade’s main goal is providing support and advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community, especially for young people who may be questioning their place in the world. By having them see others who are like them, and that it’s perfectly okay to be who they are, it instills a sense of acceptance and belonging in a supportive and inclusive community, where everyone can embrace their true selves.

Large or Small, Pride Events Make BIG Statement in NC

From big cities to small towns and everywhere in between, North Carolina hosts Pride events, parades, and festivals throughout the state to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community. Offering platforms for education, advocacy, entertainment, and a sense of unity for both the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, North Carolina’s Pride events play a crucial role in promoting diversity, acceptance, and equal rights within the state. By showcasing the diverse LGBTQ+ community in The Tar Heel State, these Pride events send a powerful message of solidarity and progress in the ongoing fight for equal rights and social acceptance.

**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Events are subject to change. Please check the events webpage for updates and schedules.

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