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Twin Cities Pride Festival, Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade, Pride Block Party


June is the unofficial LGBT Pride month in the Twin Cities. Community events and celebrations all month lead up to the annual and fabulous Pride Festival and Ashley Rukes Pride Parade in Late June, then there's the Uptown Pride Block party, a boat cruise, and plenty of family friendly, and over 21s only entertainment and festivities. Here's the highlights of Pride events in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

1. Pride Boat Cruise - Saturday June 20

The annual Pride Boat Cruise is usually sold out well before the boat departs, so advance tickets are a must. The cruise is for over-21s only.

2. Pride Picnic at Como Park - Sunday June 21

A free family-friendly picnic held at Como Park in St. Paul. This year it's held on Father's Day and they'll be plenty of grilled food for dads, and everyone else.

3. Uptown Pride Block Party at Bryant Lake Bowl - Friday June 26

The Bryant Lake Bowl hosts the Uptown Pride Block Party on the eve of the Pride Festival. Local musicians, organic food, breakdancers, the North Star Rollergirls and more entertainment from 6-10.30 p.m. at Bryant Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis.

4. Pride Festival - Saturday June 27, Sunday June 28

The two day Pride Festival is held in Minneapolis' Loring Park. Entry to the festival is free and for all ages. There's music, dancing, food, sports, entertainment, a children and family zone, and local businesses and vendors. On Saturday night, the ticketed Pride Headline show features national acts, this year Exposé and Kat DeLuna headline. And all through the festival, commitment ceremonies offer couples the chance to publicly express their love for each other. Couples must pre-register for either a private commitment ceremony on Saturday or Sunday, or for the mass commitment ceremony on Sunday.

5. Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade - Sunday June 28

Gorgeous boys in speedos on boats, firefighters, feather boas, rainbows, sequins, techno music, puppets, dancers, the Giant Rainbow Flag and the Giant Leather Flag, and probably the most swag thrown from the floats than any other Twin Cities parade are some of the reasons this parade draws over 125,000 spectators annually. The parade begins in downtown Minneapolis at Hennepin Avenue and Third Street at 11 a.m., then follows Hennepin Avenue down to Loring Park and the Pride Festival.

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