Guide To Capital Pride 2012 Festival

May 28, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Jamal A. Wilson/AFP/Getty Images)

dcprideparade Guide To Capital Pride 2012 Festival

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Capital Pride
Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th streets
(202) 719-5304

Date: May 30 to June 10
Price: free

Pride made its official DC debut in 1975, five years after the first pride celebration in the U.S., when bookstore owner and gay activist Deacon Maccubbin organized a one-day block party. Since then, the celebration has grown to a 12-day festival with events at locations throughout the D.C. area, attracting more than 250,000 attendees last year. Capital Pride works to rid the city of anti-LGBT prejudice and bias, and to educate, motivate, celebrate and support LGBT individuals. In addition to raising awareness for gay rights, the event also features skills-building workshops, discussion panels, fundraisers, a heroes gala and a silent auction, with proceeds benefiting local gay activist organizations and programs.

Click here for Metro information. Visitors are highly encouraged to take the Metro instead of trying to park downtown. Accessible stops include Archives/Navy Memorial on the green/yellow line and Judiciary Square on the red line. Handicap-accessible parking is available at the intersection of Constitution Avenue and 17th Street Northwest.

dcprideparade2 Guide To Capital Pride 2012 Festival

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Must-See Events

Pride Week Gaiety 
Date: June 1 to 8

For music, dancing, live female illusion and an adult-themed evening, head over to Secrets/Zigfelds for the Men’s Party June 1. On June 3, Stead Field in Dupont Circle promises tons of fun as athletes play kickball and run the field in high heels. Other events and activities include a women’s spoken word open-mic event June 5, women’s Jello wrestling June 6 as well as a swim and underwear auction and, to kick off the parade and festival, the Capital Pride BYT party June 8.

Capital Pride Parade
Date: June 9
Time: 4:30 p.m.

The annual parade will make its way through northwest D.C. including Dupont Circle and 17th Street with its standard, ever-colorful decorated floats, marching bands and all-around pride gaiety. To up the ante, the Capital Pride Parade will present awards to parade participants in honor of history’s most revered LGBT inspirations including the Harvey Milk for best public sector participant, the Lady Ga Ga award for best incorporation of a theme and the Village People award for best small group.

prideparade3 Guide To Capital Pride 2012 Festival

(credit: Jamal A. Wilson/AFP/Getty Images)

Capital Pride Festival
Price: free/$5 donation encouraged
Hours: June 10 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Capital Pride’s multi-block street festival features a marketplace, vendors, two performing arts stages and a beverage garden sponsored by Bud Light. The festival also offers a Kids Zone with a wide variety of fun and games including arts and crafts, face painters, hula hooping and a balloon artist. Entertainment by A Clown 4 U, magicians, stilt walkers and a bully free puppet show help entertain and educate the whole family to make this pride one that truly welcomes every one.

capitalpridecrowd Guide To Capital Pride 2012 Festival

(credit: Capital Pride/Facebook)

Taste at Pride
Date: June 10
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

No festival is complete without tasty treats, and pride does it up right. Visit the Taste@Pride tent and enjoy delicious foods from more than a dozen local restaurants. Each restaurant will provide samples of their best dishes, but this special event is limited to 500 diners, so purchase those tickets asap.

Festival Main Stage
Date: June 9 and 10

After you enjoy delicious food and drinks at the Taste at Pride, be sure to stop by the festival Main Stage where three major headliners, among other awesome group acts, will hit the stage. Main stage headliners scheduled to perform include Canadian R&B singer and songwriter Deborah Cox, whose 1998 hit song “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here” held the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks for 14 weeks. American singer and songwriter Crystal Waters, of “100% Pure Love” fame, and urban soul singer and songwriter Pepper MaShay — her biggest hit includes club favorite “Dive in the Pool” — are also scheduled to perform. Additional stages, such as the Arts Stage and the Rainbow Stage, will feature a variety of smaller acts, drag and dance performances and an entire area devoted to art. The Main Stage and Rainbow Stage will also feature a beer/wine/cocktail garden.

Where to Stay
hotelmonaco Guide To Capital Pride 2012 Festival


Hotel Monaco
700 F St. Northwest
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 628-7177

Price: from $249

Enjoy in-room spa services, nightly wine hour and more at this gorgeous boutique hotel. Each room is decked out in stylish furniture and modern colors and features an LCD flat screen television, fully stocked honor bar, terry cloth animal-print bathrobes, and absolutely luxurious bed and bath amenities. The hotel even delivers a companion gold fish to stay with lonely visitors during their stay.

Related: Best Hotels in DC on a Budget

701restaurant Guide To Capital Pride 2012 Festival

(credit: 701 Restaurant/Facebook)

701 Restaurant
701 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 393-0701

Sleek and sophisticated are just a few words that describe this uber-trendy restaurant. Located within blocks of the festival, as well as Capitol Hill and the White House, 701 features an upscale full-service bar, a modern lounge area with beaded curtains for a bit of privacy and a patio that overlooks the flowing fountains at the Navy Memorial. Enjoy the smooth sounds of jazz as you devour contemporary dishes, such as salt-cured foie gras and rockfish tartare.

Hill Country Barbecue
410 7th St. Northwest
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 556-2050

Enjoy oh-so-juicy barbecued brisket, sausage, ribs and other meats, classic Southern sides and Texas favorites including Big Red soda and Blue Bell ice cream. At Hill Country Barbecue, your meal is served butcher-style, meaning you get a pile of meat on a piece of butcher paper. Sounds primitive, but it’s how the Texans do it. Tasty sides include mac n’ cheese, potato salad and collard greens with bacon. Don’t forget to save room for desserts including peanut butter and jelly cupcakes and caramel apple crisps.

oyamel Guide To Capital Pride 2012 Festival


Oyamel Cocina Mexicana
401 7th St. Northwest
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 628-1005

With its vibrant colors and modern designs, Oyamel transports you to the streets of Mexico City, without the hassle of modern-day airport security screenings. Offering unique margaritas, traditional Mexican dishes and daily food and drink specials, a meal at Oyamel is the perfect way to end (or start) your day.

Related: 2011 Tasted Good: Best New DC Restaurants

Check out CBS Local’s Guide to Celebrating DC Pride

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. Her work can be found at

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