Four years ago the Board of Wichita Pride decided to move the Festival to September due to the extremely hot weather. That last year in June there were several people that passed out from heat exhaustion. That was also the year that the festival was held at Old Cow Town, which had very limited inside air-conditioned space. So the decision to move the festival to September had to be made. Many other cities have made the same move to combat heat issues. September seems to work for many cities, including Wichita because there are no other major holidays in September and the weather is generally cooler. To clarify the 2017 Festival; it was in June because that was the only time we could reserve The Indian Center. We were not intentionally trying to move the festival back to June. That is also why we had our Festival on Father’s Day Weekend. We knew it would affect our attendance, but it was the only available weekend for 2017.
Attracting out of town entertainers is another factor for holding our Pride Festival in September; there is less competition with other larger Pride Events that typically occur in June. In 2017 we had a difficult time booking out of town entertainers to come to Wichita, because they prefer to perform in the larger cities, where the bigger crowds are. We even had one of our scheduled entertainers cancel on us at the last minute to perform in a larger city this past June.
While we understand the importance of celebrating in June, we have to look at the best and safest way to serve the most people. We have had many responses and much feedback about which month we go to, June or September. The current Board believes the safest way to serve the greatest number of people is to continue to hold the Festival in September. However the board also sees the importance of recognizing the traditional month of June. So, to reach out to as many people as possible, the Board has decided to honor everyone’s wishes. We will be having a two-day celebration the last weekend of June and a three-day Festival in September. We will announce the final plans in a few months. So far we are planning to bring back the Equality March and the Scavenger Hunt for June and we are working out some other events as well. The plan is to have the June celebration on a Friday and a Saturday. The September Festival will be similar to what we have done in the past. We are making a few changes and tweaking a few things, and incorporating suggestions from the last festival.
Our intentions with presenting two different celebrations is to give as many people in the local community a chance to celebrate Pride as possible. As soon as we have the exact event details we will start announcing them on our Website and our Facebook page.