Charlotte Pride means big business for Uptown Charlotte

After two years in hibernation due to COVID-19, Charlotte Pride is back in Uptown. And not only will there be big crowds, it’s big money for small businesses.

CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte Pride is back in person for the first time since 2019, and that means big business is back in town.

Hundreds of thousands of attendees will once again spend millions of dollars as Pride will have in-person gatherings for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time Pride was in person, 200,000 people were in Charlotte for the events. This year, the organizers expect an even bigger audience.

The offices of Charlotte Pride are buzzing with anticipation for the biggest fundraiser of the year: a massive street festival that hasn’t happened since 2019.

“We are beyond excited,” said Matt Comer, director of operations for the Charlotte Pride. “We finally have the opportunity to bring the city’s largest street festival and parade back to Uptown after a two-year pandemic hiatus.”

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Fundraising isn’t just big bucks for Pride. That’s big money for the city of Charlotte and local businesses. In 2019, 200,000 people spent $8 million during Pride weekend.

“Several hundred thousand dollars in local hospitality taxes taken, 10,000 hotel rooms in the city,” Comer said. “We think this is a unique opportunity, especially for people in the service and hospitality industries, to really take advantage of the visitors coming to the city.”

Uptown restaurants believe this weekend could make or break their summer.

“We’re very excited to have it back,” said Chris Baliles, director of food and beverage for Angeline’s and Merchant and Trade. “Last year was tough. We planned the event but it was cancelled. It’s going to be a huge weekend this year, we have lots of events to go along with Pride. Two brunches at Angeline’s and an afternoon party at Merchant and Trade.”

Comer says Charlotte Pride is expecting people from all over the Southeast for the two-day event.

“More than 20 percent of our visitors come from more than 50 miles away,” he said. “Of course, a lot of it is in our region, but we see people from New York, Florida, Washington. We had people from California.”

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All these people will try Charlotte and spend money while they are here.

“We think a lot of people from the region will come to Charlotte to celebrate, and we were excited to welcome them,” Baliles said.

“It’s about coming together to show the rest of the world that we’ve fought, we’ve triumphed and we’ve endured,” Comer said.

The Pride Parade is the flagship event of the two-day festival and will take place on Sunday in Uptown. Click here to learn more about the Charlotte parade, including a route map.

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Facts about Charlotte Pride

Charlotte Pride held its first festival in 2001 and was set to present its 20th annual celebration in 2020. Charlotte Pride will belatedly mark its 20th anniversary with special events this year.

Charlotte Pride held its first parade in 2013.

In 2017, the Charlotte Pride Parade became the city’s largest annual parade in terms of participants and marchers.

Annual events each year include the festival and parade, an interfaith service and a variety of other social and community events leading up to the event.

In addition to the annual festival and parade, Charlotte Pride presents several other events and activities throughout the year through its programs, including Charlotte Latinx Pride, Charlotte Trans Pride, Charlotte Women’s Pride, the Charlotte Pride Scholarship Program, Interfaith Service and Charlotte Pride Programs and Reel Out Charlotte, the Queen City’s annual LGBTQ film festival.

2019 Charlotte Pride Economic Impact

  • $8.05 million in total economic impact
  • $4.79 million in direct visitor spending
  • $284,000 in Mecklenburg County taxes
  • Approximately 200,000 visitors
  • Approximately 23,000 out-of-town visitors
  • Over 10,000 booked hotel rooms

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