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A Gay KAMPer Goes to Tucson Pride

Cover Photo: Daniel Cervantes, KAMP Student Radio

This past Saturday, the 1st of October 2022, Tucson Pride returned from a two-year hiatus caused by the Covid pandemic in order to take over Gene C. Reid Park for 10 hours from noon to 10 pm. The night before, the Pride Parade occurred after initial worries it would be canceled after the onset of thunderstorms. While this article is a little late, nearly a week after going at this point, the memories still stand.

Despite it being October, the temperature was still pretty high, pushing into the very low 90s alongside some lingering humidity to make it a muggy experience overall. Thankfully, many of the stalls present were giving out or selling hand fans to allow one to make a breeze for themselves. I arrived with my friend at about 11:40 am, giving us some time to find parking and walk over toward the entrance, which was unfortunately not well signed out. At noon, the gates opened up and the sound of music began as the main stage, the George DeMeester Performance Center, and a specially set up community dance stage came to life. For those looking to get a drink, there was no alcohol within the festival’s gates, instead opting for a free shuttle to take guests to a nearby sponsored bar for their fill.

After walking in, my friend and I went around the festival in a clockwise manner, going by various stalls of local vendors and businesses as well as some advocacy groups. There was a big variety of items to be won and purchased, with “spin the wheel to win” prizes being very common throughout the festival. It took my friend and I about two and a half hours to navigate through the festival, visiting almost every stall and seeing all sorts of rainbows and representation, ranging from the Gaytar to a rainbow corgi. Everyone we spoke to had a great vibe to them and I ended up leaving with a large tote bag full of items, including an ever iconic condom bead necklace (I didn’t take a picture of this which is a crying shame to myself and all of you).

Overall, the experience was a fun one excluding the mugginess and the need to stay extra hydrated, but I can’t attribute that to the festival itself. The music was nice, with the lineup visible on Tucson Pride’s website or social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram. For the first pride event I had ever gone to, it was a very solid experience and hopefully next year the weather will be a bit nicer to make bringing extra water and a fan less necessary. I also hope that next year I won’t have any plans later in the evening that would prevent me from going later and staying when it’s cooler in case the weather takes a similar turn as this year. Either way, I’m very thankful it was in October instead of June and I can’t wait to go next year.

From left: The mythical rainbow corgi, Pride Legos found at the Pima County Public Library table, the iconic Gaytar TM for sale. (Photos: Daniel Cervantes, KAMP Student Radio)

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