Support a ‘Fabulous Free Future’ and turn out for Pride Weekend 2023
Come out and enjoy the rainbows as the Big Island’s most colorful kiki returns the last Saturday of June in celebration and support of diversity, inclusion, acceptance and equality.
The 11th annual Hawai‘i Island LGBTQ+ Pride Parade and Festival is back June 24 and promises the biggest lineup yet of entertainment and activities throughout Downtown Hilo. This year’s theme is “Fabulous Free Future,” which is in response to issues now affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, plus community throughout the country, specifically anti-drag laws, anti-trans health care laws and book banning in schools and public libraries.
Hawai‘i Island LGBTQ+ wants the Big Island community to know that:
- Hawai‘i Island is a place where fabulous drag queens thrive.
- The LGBTQ+ community embodies the true freedom that is at the core of the nation’s values.
- The future is rainbow — for the island, Hawai‘i, the United States and the world.
Pride Weekend kicks off at 8 p.m. June 23 as the Lava Shack in Pāhoa invites the island to Celebrate Pride with Lava Phish, a monthly drag revue. Doors open at 7 p.m. and there is a $5 cover charge.
The Pride celebration continues from 9 a.m. to noon June 24 with a Liquid Brunch hosted by Bee-Tish at Puna Chocolate Company and Cafe on Keawe Street in Downtown Hilo. The brunch will feature magical mimosas, a bloody Mary menu and outrageous bagels.
The main event begins at 11 a.m. June 24 with the Pride Parade.
The parade will feature a new route this year, beginning at the staging area just south of Mo‘oheau Bandstand and the surrounding park and traveling along Kamehameha Avenue before turning onto Haili Street. Marchers will then proceed south on Kino‘ole Street and turn again at Ponahawai Street to make their way back to bayfront.
In honor of the Big Island’s thriving theater community, which has long offered safety, acceptance and freedom of creative expression for LGBTQ+ young people and featured content and casting that highlight and sometimes showcase the stories and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community, this year’s grand marshals will be the island’s theater group leadership.
The Pride Festival gets underway at the bandstand and park following the parade until 4 p.m. The event will feature two entertainment areas this year, at the bandstand and the Pride Picnic Drag Stage. The bandstand will host longtime favorites 14 Daze and The Puna Men’s Chorus. New this year will be the Hilo Community Players, Puna Taiko and the singers of the Hilo Education Arts Repertory Theatre (HEART) performing with the Hot Potaytahs Band. A special appearance by performers of the Crossover Cabaret is also planned.
The family-friendly festival is open to all ages and will also include plenty of food vendors, keiki activities, community resources and local merchants.
Admission is free, but donations are welcome at the Pride booth near the entrance of the park. T-shirts and tank tops with this year’s theme and logo also will be on sale at the booth.
Festivities continue with the Love Wins Pride Month celebration hosted by Cimmaron from 6 until pau. The event will be presented by Hilo Town Market and Kingstown at 69 Waianuenue Ave. and feature guest DJ Mixplate.
The day caps off with the Official Hawai‘i Island LGBTQ+ Pride After Party presented by PINK! It’s a Show from 8 p.m. to midnight at Hilo Town Tavern on Keawe Street. The show starts at 9 p.m. for those 21 and older and there is a cover charge of $15. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Hawai‘i Island LGBTQ+ Pride organization.
Pride Weekend on the Big Island wraps up with two Equality HI events June 25.
Images from the 2022 Hawai‘i Island LGBTQ+ Pride Parade and Festival. (File photos)
The Kapoho Lighthouse Pride Weekend Hike from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will feature an hour-long trek along a partially shaded access road to the lighthouse. From there, a trail just to the right leads to a black sand beach. Closer to the lighthouse are sandy beaches with a combination of black and green sand.
There are no services or lifeguards at the beach area. Shade is also very limited and only there is only the hot black sand beach to rest on, so be prepared. Hikers are asked to take out what they bring in as the area is pristine land with no trash pickup in the area.
There also is no drinking water, so hikers should bring their own. The ocean water is rough with a strong undertow, thus swimming is very dangerous and not advised.
A carpool to the trail will leave at 8:30 a.m. from Kea‘au. Those who want to catch a ride can meet beginning at 8 a.m. at the parking area between Coffee Bean & Tea and Subway. Another carpool will leave at 8:45 a.m. from Pāhoa. Meet at the parking area between No.1 Chinese Kitchen and Pāhoa Urgent Care beginning at 8:30 a.m. to catch a ride.
For anyone driving themselves, from Pāhoa, head down Highway 132 and pass Green Mountain until the road turns sharp to the left at Government Beach Road. Park anywhere on the curve and walk past the concrete barriers to spot the trail to the ocean.
After the hike, join Equality HI for the annual Pride BBQ from noon to 6 p.m. at Pavilion No. 2 at Onekahakaha Beach Park in Keaukaha.
The feast is a family-friendly, alcohol-free potluck, with burgers, hot dogs, good vibes and groovy jams provided. Bring a side dish, meat to grill and share, camp chairs, friends, water toys, other food, sports and games if you like or just show up with your fine self, empty-handed, unannounced, any time. The BBQ is free to attend and there’s no charge to eat.
Pride Month this year also marks the opening of the Prizma Hawai‘i LGBTQ+ Center in Downtown Hilo. The center is sharing space in The Change Center upstairs at 120 Keawe St and currently providing regular weekly and monthly programs for young people and adults.
Prizma will have a booth at the Pride Festival for people to sign up for programs as well as collaborate to create new meetings, activities and groups.
For additional information about all of the 2023 Pride Weekend events, follow Hawai‘i Island LGBTQ+ Pride on Facebook and Instagram or click here. You can also text Greg Lupton at 323-788-7626 or email to [email protected].