When the Boise Pride Festival moved from June to September last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers discovered fortuitous benefits.
Donald Williamson, executive director of Boise Pride, told the Idaho Statesman in a message this week that the festival attracted new vendors, talent and attendees who previously had to choose between June festivals in Boise and major cities, where they could potentially reach more people.
“We were able to bring in new vendors and supporters from across the nation,” Williamson said. “A September festival also allows members of the LGBTQ+ and allied communities the opportunity to participate in other growing Pride festivals in Idaho during June, bringing those Idaho communities some much-needed support and allyship.”
That’s why Boise Pride’s board of directors, which puts on the annual festival, chose to keep the celebration in September this year, rather than host it in June, when it historically has taken place — during LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
There are other advantages, too: The weather is nicer in September and local college students are in Boise and nearby cities at that time, Williamson said. In June, Boise State and other colleges have adjourned for the summer.
The new timing in 2021 was “very well received” by attendees, vendors, volunteers and performers, who gave feedback to the board of directors, Williamson said.
“As Boise Pride continues to grow and plans to expand its programs and services to the LGBTQ+ community in Idaho, this change will help the organization be a part of other Pride events during June and ultimately afford us the ability to offer more to the community,” he said.
The Boise Pride Festival and parade are set for Sept. 9-11 at Cecil D. Andrus Park downtown.