WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Capital Pride festivities in the District of Columbia are wrapping up Sunday night with several events, including the annual festival.
The 17th annual festival, which takes place from noon to sunset Sunday on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 3rd and 7th streets, is D.C.’s largest annual one-day event with more than 150,000 visitors. It provides entertainment, music, food, drink, education, and celebration, including three stages and about 300 sponsor and vendor exhibits.
The festival is open to everyone and is free, but organizers say a donation is encouraged.
The entertainment at this year’s festival is headlined by Emeli Sandé, Icona Pop and Cher Lloyd on the Capitol Stage, and Eric Himan and the Soultre Singers on the Dupont Stage. After the entertainment winds down on the Capitol Stage at about 8 p.m., the festival is hosting a dance party until 9 p.m.
The music and dancing then will move to Cobalt on R Street for a Closing Party from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The 38th annual Capital Pride Parade took place Saturday afternoon, traveling 1.5 miles through Dupont Circle and 17th Street and coming to an end in Logan Circle. The parade attracted more than 100,000 spectators, organizers said.
The Capital Pride celebration kicked off Friday evening with more than 750 participants in the D.C. Front Runners 5K race, each paying tribute to a famed activist of the Gay Rights Movement as they crossed the finish line.
Organizers designated the start and finish line at a special place, the so-called “gay corner” of Congressional Cemetery in Southeast. That’s where gay rights activist Leonard Matlovich, a Vietnam veteran and the first openly gay American to grace the cover of Time Magazine, as he did in September 1975.
Matlovich received a Purple Heart for his bravery in combat, before being honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force after revealing his openly gay lifestyle.
His tombstone bears no name, and simply reads: “A Gay Vietnam Veteran — When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”
One organizer, Jerry Langdon said, “It occurred to us that this would be the perfect venue.”
“The gravestone of Matlovich there could not have indicated that he was a gay veteran in other cemeteries,” Langdon continued. “This cemetery here was willing to accept that.”
Another organizer, Lenny Carter, felt so inspired by the location of the race’s finish line that he proposed to his longtime boyfriend of 16 years.
Click here for a full list of Capital Pride events.