Oklahoma Pride Alliance PrideFest was filled with Dancing, Drag Queens, and Queer Joy

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

CEEJ the Troll performs during the Drag Hour at the OKC Pride Alliance’s Pridefest at Scissortail Park in Oklahoma City, Friday, June 23, 2023.

With Pride month in the rearview mirror; I cannot stop thinking about the core memories I made during the last weekend in June. Therefore, I wanted to take a look back at the said weekend that took place in the heart of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Pride Alliance held its third-annual PrideFest at Scissortail Park. It was a truly magical weekend for those involved, from leadership, volunteers, performers, and most certainly the attendees. Over the course of the three-day festival, there was something for everyone; from concerts to drag hour, along with shopping and food trucks. Additionally, the festival served as a plentiful resource center, with the Epic Pharmacy Community Zone, Family Zone, and Youth Zone. Moreover, the festival did not only feature both local and regional talent, PrideFest also brought in international talent as well.  Let’s revisit that glorious weekend below, starting with Friday’s events:

Friday, June 23, 2023, Day 1:

PrideFest was scheduled to kick off at 4:00 PM; however, Oklahoma weather can be unpredictable and there was a slight weather delay. The Main Stage really got started around 6:00 PM when Drag Hour began; some of the performers included Mariah Page, Maxum Delray, Sativa Green, TOPATÍO, CEEJ the Troll, Anna Flactic-Shoqqqq, and many more. After Drag Hour, the stage quickly reset and transitioned into three different concerts, starting with Patrick Saint James, Adore Delano, and finally the festival headliner Aly & AJ.

Media and marking chair Jade Tomlinson told Culturess about why she chose this position at the Oklahoma Pride Alliance, the different challenges that go into putting on an event of this magnitude, and her favorite part from PrideFest:

I was so eager to be a part of the organization and help out in anyway I could. When opportunity struck to be able to be the person to help create, and promote I jumped at it. PrideFest has always been such a special experience for me, in fact I used the event to come out in 2021. So to be able to be a part of it in such a big way meant everything to me, it was so incredible to be able to use my skills for something I was truly passionate about. I am looking forward to the rest of the year and heading into 2024! This is actually my first year working with OKPA. An event of this capacity comes with a lot of pressure. Leading up to the festival was challenging to hit every mark but it was so much fun, and a heck of a learning experience. During the festival, the challenge was to make sure everything reflected the Boards vision of Queer Joy: The Resistance, I tried to capture every moment that I could! I think one day I did over 20,000 steps just trying to make sure we didn’t miss a beat! My favorite part was every-time I would be out in the crowd getting content I would turn around and try to just take it all in. To look out at the crowd and be like wow they’ve really done it, this is what Queer Joy looks like. You felt it, it was in the air, and it was the most incredible experience. I won’t ever forget looking out to the crowd during Aly and Aj, absolutely surreal.

All four acts drew a large crowd. With that said, Aly & AJ seemed to draw the largest, according to one of the vendors they served over 20k people on Friday night alone — for reference of what a large turnout this was, the highest attended concert in Scissortail Park and outdoor Oklahoma City history was 28k for Kings of Leon when this park opened — in fact, so many people attended the first day of PrideFest the merch booth ran out of the official festival t-shirt, and more had to be printed, a little more on that later. The sister duo rocked PrideFest, and this was their first time playing at a Pride festival, both sisters each posted about the experience on their Instagram accounts. Overall, Friday truly set the tone for the festival and it only got better from then onward.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse