KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — People in Knoxville will be able to welcome October with a huge celebration of Pride. The Knox Pride 2022 celebration is the first weekend of October with a night parade on the Friday before the festivities.
It is called Pridefest, and it starts with the parade in downtown Knoxville. Staging starts at 4 p.m. near the Civic Auditorium. All floats and motorized units will need to report in by 5:30 p.m. before everyone starts marching down Gay Street at 7 p.m.
Participants will be able to pass out items during the parade, but cannot throw items. Knox Pride also emphasized that the Pridefest is a family-friendly event and participants will need to follow parade terms for how to conduct themselves.
The following day, Oct. 1, will be the official Pridefest. The festival and parade are free to attend, and organizers said it is the largest free Pride Festival in the U.S. It will be in World's Fair Park and will feature a fringe arts stage, food and drinks. There will be vendors on the festival lawn as well as activities for kids.
In the Amphitheatre, people will have a chance to watch performers of all kinds including comedians, bands, drag performers and more.
Jeanine Fuller will be a headliner of the festival, organizers said. She is from Brooklyn, New York, and brought vocal blends of soul, funk, blues, jazz and rock to Knoxville. She previously toured around the U.S. and has shared the stage with Grammy-winning artists.
Other headliners include BIG DIPPER, Aja and Chris Hamblen. Aja is a non-binary artist who had their breakout on RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3. They performed over 175 live shows across the world.
Meanwhile, Hamblin is a native Tennessean returning home to perform. He is known locally as the founding Artistic Director of the Knoxville Gay Men's Chorus. BIG DIPPER is known for a catalog of "internet rap" which focuses on comedy and sex-positive messages.
Knox Pride also chose to remove the VIP area from the festival, so everyone can access all areas of Pride. Instead, they are offering a paid pass for people who want to upgrade.
The Knox Pride Pass costs $75 if they want it, and people will be able to pick up their passes at the Knox Pride Infor Booth as they enter Pride. It comes with either five drink tickets or $25 in credit to the Knox Pride merchandise booth. People will be able to choose which benefit they want.
The pass also comes with a commemorative lanyard for 2022 and a meet-and-greet event with headliners.
Organizers said they planned to email people who buy the pass on the week of the event to ask if they want the drink tickets or the merch credit. They will also give details about the meet-and-greet events in the email.
The Pridebook, which goes through details of the events and the headliners, is also available online.