PrideFest Milwaukee 2014 shatters attendance records

Wed. June 11, 2014 9:28 AM

photo credit // ken brown

31,295 visitors attend 3-day celebration of love

Milwaukee, WI - Energized by Wisconsin's milestone move towards marriage equality, PrideFestMilwaukee welcomed a record-breaking 31,295 visitors to Milwaukee's lakefront June 6, 7 and 8 for a weekend celebrating LGBT culture, community and inclusion.

This year's attendance reflects a 3% increase over the previous record of 30,385, set in 2010. Revenue results, including total funds raised for the ACLU of Wisconsin Plus One campaign, were not immediately available.

"We are so deeply humbled by what we've seen and heard this weekend," said Kate Sherry, festival co-producer. "Our visitors, volunteers, and performers shared how excited and proud they were to be here, with us, during this historic weekend. You have been heard, and we are feeling the love. Thank you for all the photos, emails, voicemails, tweets, Facebook posts, and hugs."

"It makes us so very proud to know how much PrideFest Milwaukee means for the LGBT community, city, state and region. The festival is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers, many of whom work year-round to make PrideFest possible. Your kind words mean the world to us."

Through partnerships with Visit Milwaukee, Pabst Theater Group, BMO Harris Bradley Center and the Milwaukee Pride Parade, PrideFest marketed Milwaukee as a regional LGBT pride destination for the four-day weekend. Within one hour of PrideFest's opening, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb overturned the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, sending festival spirits sky-high for the weekend.

"PrideFest is extremely pleased with everything that happened this weekend: wonderful weather, outstanding programming and such beautiful crowds," said PrideFest Milwaukee President Scott Gunkel. "The timing of the marriage equality news was a great gift to the people of Wisconsin and our PrideFest visitors. Love won out, pure and simple, this weekend."

However, the war for marriage equality has not yet been won in Wisconsin. As of Monday morning, several Wisconsin county clerks still refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, and State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen filed a federal petition to stop other counties from honoring marriage equality.

"We urge Wisconsin's LGBT community to watch this case very closely," said Gunkel. "The tide turned in our favor on Friday. But we must remain vigilant, active and outspoken, if we are ever to achieve full marriage equality in our home state. After tasting liberty, nothing less will ever be acceptable again."

"We must be ready to fight for the freedom to marry -- with fury." 

From a news release

Milwaukee PrideFest 2014 photos on

Friday, June 6 | Saturday, June 7 | Sunday, June 8