22 LGBTQ+ Pride events in Iowa (3 brand new!) in 2024

Pride events in Iowa

PrideFest at night. Photo courtesy of Capital City Pride

By Amie Rivers

May 28, 2024

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. If you’re looking for Pride events in Iowa in 2024, here are 22 of them.

The first Pride was in 1970, on the one-year commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising, which happened outside of the Stonewall Inn—a bar in New York City—on June 28, 1969.

To be sure, LGBTQ+ activists had been organizing pickets prior to Stonewall. But Stonewall proved a tipping point: In 1970, thousands of activists marched in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in 1970 (and in Iowa City, too!), and the movement grew in the years to come.

These days, Prides are less protest action and more mainstream party, featuring family-friendly events backed by plenty of corporate sponsorship.

Iowa used to be more friendly than most states; we were only the third state in the nation to allow legal same-sex marriage, after a court decision, in April of 2009—six years before the US would follow suit, in June of 2015.

Yet, conservatives haven’t stopped trying to roll back LGBTQ+ rights. Iowa Republicans still want to ban same-sex marriage. And they continue to pass laws at the expense of the freedoms of LGBTQ+ folks, including plenty of laws that pick on LGBTQ+ kids.

Celebrating Pride in Iowa in 2024, therefore, feels a bit more like protest again—and that’s evident in the three brand-new Pride festivals popping up in 2024 (we see you, Burlington, Marshalltown, and West Des Moines!).

This June—and throughout the summer into the fall—here are the Pride events all across Iowa:

May 31-June 1

Quad Cities Pride Festival

5 p.m.-midnight May 31, noon-midnight June 1, Schwiebert Riverfront Park, Davenport

Put on by the Quad Cities Pride Alliance, who founded it in 2008 and revived it in 2017, this two-day festival will feature drag headliners Ada Vox (May 31) and Elliott With 2 T’s (June 1), along with musical performances like DJ Drew and Jordan Danielson, dance by Belly Divas Dance and Acro Yoga QC, vendors, and more. There will also be a Unity Pride Parade on June 1 from Davenport to Rock Island, Illinois.

More information here.

June 1

Dubuque Pride Festival

Noon-4 p.m., outside of the Multicultural Family Center on 11th Street, Dubuque

The event will feature a DJ, drag performers, activities, vendors, and even free lunch (while it lasts).

More information here.

Ottumwa Pride Block Party

3-10 p.m., Central Park, Ottumwa

In its fourth year, Ottumwa Pride 2024 is featuring musicians Paige Clouse and The Gallant Vagabonds, drag performers like Nana Tuckit and Andromeda Reneé Rivera, a pet parade and costume contest, a kids’ art class in the park, and more.

More information here.

SUX Pride / Sioux City Pride Festival

11 a.m., Sioux City Convention Center / 11 a.m.-4 p.m., downtown Fourth Street, Sioux City

Established in 2016 and named after its infamous airport code, SUX Pride is an all-day indoor event featuring local and national drag performers like Axel Andrews and Veronica Kennedy. Sioux City Pride Festival, put on by Siouxland Pride Alliance, bills itself as the “drug/alcohol/tobacco free, appropriate for ALL ages” Pride event at the same time, and will feature a DJ, community resource fair, and free lunch.

The weekend will feature other events too, like the Pride Parade and a game night on May 30, outdoor SUX Pride in downtown Sioux City and a burlesque and leather show at Kings and Queens on May 31, and a drag brunch at 11 a.m. at the Hard Rock Casino on June 2.

More information here.

June 7

Riverside Pride Festival

4 p.m., Seventh Street and Avenue G, Fort Madison

The 3rd annual pride festival will feature performances, speeches, a family-friendly drag show, crafts, vendors, and more.

More information here.

June 7-9

Capital City Pride

5-11 p.m. June 7, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. June 8, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 9, East Village, Des Moines

The 45th annual event will feature a parade, musical acts like Rebecca Black and the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus, drag performers like Shea Couleé and Gottmik, and a wide variety of activities and food.

Capital City also puts on events throughout the month, including a 5K, Pride Book Club, Let Love Serve Volleyball Tournament, a drag brunch, and more.

More information about Capital City Pride here.

June 8

Cedar Rapids Pride Parade

1-3 p.m., NewBo/Czech Village District, Cedar Rapids

The 3rd annual parade has the theme, “Grow with Pride.” If you’re looking for the festival, it’s held in July (keep scrolling to find more).

More information here.

Let Love Fly

11 a.m.-3 p.m., Centennial Park, North Liberty

If you like supporting the LGBTQ+ community, AND flying a kite, this one’s for you. Watch Great American Kites fly “mega kites” up to 200 feet in length, and even build your own to fly. Dogs are welcome, and there will be vendors and food too.

More information here.

June 15

Des Moines People’s Pride

Noon-5 p.m., Water Works Park, Des Moines

People’s Pride was started by resident Leah Plath in 2023, who said she began it “out of frustration of large corporations and cops” in attendance at Capital City Pride. It will feature music, drag, a book exchange, artists, vendors, and more.

More information here.

Iowa City Pride Festival

Noon-10 p.m., downtown Iowa City

Iowa’s oldest Pride festival (tracing their roots back to 1970) will feature Iowa musicians mars hojilla and BYOBrass, drag performers like Kendra Onixx and Gia Gunn, with the theme this year of “Forward With Strength.”

More information here.

2nd annual Benton County Pride

11 a.m.-3 p.m., Celebration Park, Vinton

More information here.

June 22

Ankeny Pride

4-9 p.m., Ankeny Market and Pavilion

The third-annual event features a talent showcase, a pet parade, vendors and more.

More information here.

Pride on the Riverfront

10 a.m.-3 p.m., 8 p.m.-midnight, Burlington riverfront

Brand-new for 2024, Pride on the Riverfront will start with a 10 a.m. parade along Jefferson Street, followed by the family-friendly festival at the riverfront until 3 p.m. A 21+ Pride After Dark runs from 8 p.m. to midnight.

More information here.

Fort Dodge Pride Festival

10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fort Dodge Public Library

More information here.

June 30

Valley Junction Pride

Noon-4 p.m., Railroad Park, West Des Moines

Another brand-new Pride this year, Valley Junction Pride will be put on by Bing’s Des Moines, Kunzler Studios, and Annie’s Foundation, and include entertainment, a pet parade, a maker’s market, and more.

More information here.

July 6

CR Pride

Noon-6 p.m., NewBo City Market, Cedar Rapids

Featuring drag performers like Jaida Essence Hall and Dawn, musical performers like Ian McConnell, and over 140 vendors.

More information here.

July 13

Heartland Pride

10 a.m. parade, downtown Council Bluffs; noon-10 p.m. festival, CHI Arena and Capitol District, Omaha

Going since 2010, Heartland Pride features live entertainment, a karaoke ballroom, over 150 vendors, and more.

More information here.

Marshalltown Pride in the Park

10 a.m.-8 p.m., West End Park, Marshalltown

Another brand-new one for 2024, Pride in the Park will feature main stage performances, a kids zone, vendors, and more.

More information here.

July 20

Mason City Pride

9 a.m., Central Park, Mason City

Featuring a drag show at 6 p.m., Mason City Pride gets going early at 9 a.m. with vendors and other activities.

More information here.

Aug. 23-24

Cedar Valley Pridefest

5:30 p.m.-midnight Aug. 23, noon-midnight Aug. 24, downtown Waterloo

Now in its 12th year, the two-day festival—generally the last Pride of the summer—features live music and drag performances from national and local acts, a fashion show, educational speakers, yoga, food, vendors, and more.

More information here.

Oct. 12

Decorah Pride Festival

3 p.m. parade along Water Street; 3:30 p.m. Party in the Park, in green space next to John Cline Elementary School; 8 p.m. Pride Dance Party, Pulpit Rock Brewing Company; Decorah

Started in 2018, Decorah Pride features an afternoon parade followed by a Party in the Park with games, bouncy houses, food trucks, and vendors. A DJ will be spinning dance tunes at Pulpit Rock for an 18+ party that evening.

More information here.

Oct. 18-19

Pride Orange City

TBD, Orange City

Started in 2017, Pride Orange City is always the third weekend in October and in the past has featured a Gaymer Night of board games and video games on Friday, followed by the festival on Saturday with morning yoga, drag shows, vendors, and more.

More information here.

  • Amie Rivers

    Amie Rivers is Starting Line's community editor, labor reporter and newsletter snarker-in-chief. Previously, she was an award-winning journalist at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier; now, she very much enjoys making TikToks and memes. Send all story tips and pet photos to [email protected] and sign up for our newsletter here.

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