June is Pride Month, which means cities across the country are holding celebrations for LGBTQ communities. Boston’s 49th annual Pride parade and festival is scheduled for Saturday at 12 p.m. as part of a weeklong Pride celebration.
The theme of this year’s pride parade is “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1969 police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York, which catalyzed the modern LGBTQ rights movement. The theme “acknowledges our history, specifically of individuals and groups that forged ahead to enhance our community’s voice through strength, courage, and sacrifice,” organizers wrote online.
If you plan to be one of the thousands expected to take part in the day’s festivities, here’s what you’ll need to know.
The Pride Festival
Before the parade starts, there is a Pride Festival at Boston City Hall Plaza. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature a concert stage, food court, and over 120 vendors.
The festival will feature local and national LGBTQ non-profit organizations, grassroots queer organizations that promote visibility and connections within the community, and local queer-owned and operated small businesses selling rainbow merch.
The parade route
Boston’s pride parade kicks off at noon. The route starts at Copley Square and runs down Clarendon Street into the South End, through the Boston Common area, up Beacon Street, and ending at Boston City Hall Plaza.
Along the route, banners commemorating the 50th anniversary of the police raid on New York City’s Stonewall Inn — a gay bar that became a rallying point for LGBTQ rights after patrons resisted police and launched several days of protest — will recognize historic places and locations in Boston’s queer history.
What to expect
Rain or shine, there will be thousands of people marching in the parade and even more watching. In 2018, more than 55,000 people marched in the parade, while 750,000 spectators attended.
Organizers expect more than 300 organizations to participate in the parade, including high school groups, churches, and other community groups.
Since the parade will be held outdoors on a warm, sunny day, organizers recommend coming prepared with sunscreen and bottled water.
How to get around
Organizers recommend taking the MBTA to get to the event. The closest station to the start of the parade is the Copley stop on the Green Line, and the closest to the end of the parade is the Government Center stop on the Green and Blue lines.
The parade will be led by Grand Marshal Dale Mitchell, Marshal Ava Glasscott, and honorary Marshal Chris Harris.
Marsha P. Johnson, a gender non-conforming African-American activist and icon who was one of the most prominent participants in the Stonewall Inn Uprising, is the parade’s Champion of Stonewall Honorary Marshal.
Local elected officials, including Senator Ed Markey and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, are also expected to march in the parade.