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10 things to do at PrideFest this year

Raise the multi-colored flags high, people of all parties and creeds. June 12-14 is the time of the year for PrideFest to take to the streets energetically waving this year's theme, "Back to the Heart." The group Capital City Pride is paying tribute to the small group that founded the event 37 years ago with a celebratory march to the Capitol.

In almost four decades the event has grown to include approximately 15,000 attendees. And this year, back in its East Village stomping grounds, it is free. Budget only for cold drinks, some delicious eats and $10 for a wristband to gain entrance to the headlining concert.

Kerry Weyers, president of Capital City Pride, said he and the board are thankful to the East Village for providing the LGBT community a place to celebrate.

"The pride events are significant in many ways. It is showing support for our local LGBT businesses within the East Village, and it is also showing the support and the great strides companies and businesses are taking to support the LGBT community."

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Weyers offered his perspective on how the largest city in the state fares as far as rolling out the welcome mat.

"The same issues we face in Des Moines are very similar to all major cities, even though some are on different scales than the others. But at the end of the day, I believe Iowa, with marriage equality and with all the LGBT leaders in Des Moines, is on the right path to make the LGBT community feel welcome, safe and included as part of the community we all live in."

So, come out and support your friends, neighbors, lovers and colleagues. When you are marking out your weekend agenda, put these 10 must-dos on the list.

1) Sing along to Belinda Carlisle

As the headlining concert of the weekend, Belinda Carlisle tops the list just like she has topped the charts in the past. As the lead singer of all-female rock band, The Go-Go's, she helped sing to fame those now wedding reception must-plays like "We Got the Beat" and from her solo career, "Heaven is a Place on Earth." $10. VIP tickets are $20.

When: Saturday, June 13 at 9:15 p.m.

Where: Garden Nightclub Outdoor Stage at 112 SE Fourth St.

2) Actually meet Belinda Carlisle

Seeing a star like Belinda Carlisle on stage is fine, but meeting and greeting her is supreme. Spend an extra $10.

Tickets for the meet and greet are available online at, at the festival gates in the East Village or the day of at the Garden Nightclub.

3) Brunch

Recover from Saturday night with an affordable brunch ($10) with fellow revelers before the premier parade jaunts down the street. A spread will be catered by local French-inspired favorite, La Mie. Local speakers will take to the microphone and the presentation of the Robert Eikleberry Award (Eikleberry is co-owner of the Blazing Saddle) will occur. "Robert over the years of pride, has always recognized individuals who make a difference within the LGBT community," Weyers said. "He has awarded three mayors, city councilmen and gay leaders of the community." Obtain tickets online at or on location at the Garden Nightclub, the Blazing Saddle or Liberty Gifts.

When: Sunday, June 14 at 11 a.m.

Where: Blazing Saddle Tent

4) Hang out at the Garden

Acquire a wristband before the weekend starts to gain access to the sure-to-be-packed Garden Nightclub Thursday through Sunday as well as the Belinda Carlisle concert. Swing by the Garden Nightclub, the Blazing Saddle or Liberty Gifts to purchase.

5) Enjoy pop music/classical mash-ups

Catch Well Strung, a quartet of handsome gents that play the strings as well as they vocalize. The tunes are pop mashed with professional musicianship.

When: Saturday, June 13 at 7 p.m.

Where: Bud Light Stage located on the PrideFest Grounds at East Fifth Street and Grand Avenue.

6) Go to Gay Day at Adventureland

Take a personal day on Monday, June 15 and ride the roller coasters at Adventureland. It is unofficially "Gay Day" at the amusement park and discounted admission tickets will be available at the festival gates.

When: Monday, June 15, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Where: Adventureland Park, 305 34th Ave. NW, Altoona

7) Parade with Purpose

Safe sex tools like condoms, dental dams and lubricants may be handed (not thrown) to people (not random spectators) age 17 and older at the parade. Meaning, get a good spot for this procession of activists, creative costumes, LGBT supporters and banner wielders. The route will come down E. Locust Street from the Iowa State Capitol and end at Robert D. Ray Dr.

When: Sunday, June 14, 1 p.m.

Where: East Locust St.

8) Check out family friendly events

Weyers said that PrideFest will play host to a bigger family fun zone area. Kids will love the pony rides and inflatables. Free like the rest of the grounds in the East Village, the family friendly atmosphere will be encouraged throughout the weekend.

9) Dance

Billed as not a band, but a "high energy live music show," Pop ROCKS is a flash of show biz and chorus, with the beats dropped by a DJ. Nothing too serious , the group will close out the festivities on Sunday afternoon.

When: Sunday, June 14, 3:45 p.m.

Where: Bud Light Stage located on the PrideFest Grounds at East Fifth St. and Grand Ave.

10) Get educated

Weyers said Capital City Pride teamed up with Meredith Corporation to provide two educational events prior to the big festival. A panel of speakers are expected to lead an event on "The Relevance of Pride and Pride History." Donna Red Wing, executive director of One Iowa, Nate Monson, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, Jonathan Wilson, attorney with the Davis Brown Law firm, and State Sen. Matt McCoy are scheduled to lead the discussion 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2.

On Thursday, June 4, Scott Johnson, vice president and wealth planning officer of Bankers Trust, will discuss personal finance for the LGBT community, 7-8 p.m.

Where: Meredith Corporation, 1716 Locust St.