PrideFest, Wisconsin’s largest LGBTQ+ event, announced the official line up for their fall event, “PridetoberFest” slated for October 8 and 9 at the Henry Maier Festival Park.

Originally scheduled for its traditional early June dates, PrideFest had to be canceled for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Organizing an event of this size with a tight time line, scheduling conflicts, ever changing COVID-19 protocols, and increased costs has proven to be quite the challenge,” said Wes Shaver, President of Milwaukee Pride. He added, owever, it’s been worth it. I am so excited to finally announce our line up and festival plans as this event was designed to capture the spirit of Milwaukee while celebrating our LGBTQ+ community. This event brings local businesses, vendors, laborers, entertainers, and citizens together in a whole new way and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

PridetoberFest is planned as a “homecoming” event of sorts, with an overarching theme of celebrating local drag queen Jaida Essence Hall’s Season 12 Victory on the award winning reality show, Rupaul’s Drag Race and a full array of local LGBTQ entertainers.

Over 95% of the weekend’s programming are local, Wisconsin or Milwaukee residents, including Milwaukee Buck’s own DJ Shawna as the Saturday night Dance Pavilion Headliner. Big Freedia and Lardi B will return to the Miller Mainstage on Friday October 8, while the Dance Pavilion hosts recent drag sensation, Gottmik, a finalist on season 13 of Rupaul’s Drag Race.

In true Milwaukee festival fashion, the lakefront will be illuminated with a custom fireworks display. PrideFest started that annual tradition in 1996.

“Pride is for everyone!” said PridetoberFest Producer Luke Olson, “Saturday is our Family Day and we’ve got fun programming lined up for families of all sizes and ages. PrideFest 1996 was the first Pride festival in the country with a dedicated fireworks display. I am so happy we’ll be continuing this tradition at PridetoberFest.”

Milwaukee Pride Board of Directors will also implement the same gate and admission requirements Summerfest had for Pridetoberfest. Festival attendees will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test dated within 72 hours of entrance time. The festival grounds will have hand sanitizer stations, suggest masks and social distancing whenever possible.

Every summer, Milwaukee Pride selects a local LGBTQ organization as the beneficiary of PrideFest’s largest community giving effort, the “Plus One” campaign. For Pridetoberfest, $1 from every online ticket order will be donated to the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center to support their recent relocation. Milwaukee Pride is committed to supporting safe spaces to celebrate Pride in our community.

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Lee Matz and Milwaukee Downtown BID #21