PrideFest Milwaukee 2017 breaks attendance record

Tue. June 13, 2017 7:58 AM by News Staff

pridefest milwaukee, 2017

photo credit // ken brown

Beautiful weather, star-studded entertainment lead to attendance record for PrideFest Milwaukee 2017

Milwaukee, WI - PrideFest Milwaukee 2017 officially kicked off Milwaukee's summer festival season June 9-10 with an all-time record 37,682 visitors attending this year's festival, up 13% over the previous record of 33,438 set in 2016.

"We were honored and humbled to see such colossal turnout," said Michail Takach, vice president of Milwaukee Pride. "There was such a powerful, positive energy in the air all weekend. I've never felt anything like it."

Over the years, the three-day all-LGBT festival has become a must-attend Midwest event and this year didn't disappoint. PrideFest Milwaukee 2017 featured headliners Betty Who, Steve Grand, 10,000 Maniacs and Todrick Hall, along with over 150 diverse acts on eight stages.

Comedian, actor, writer, host and Internet celebrity Randy Rainbow, best know for his series of satirical videos, hosted this year's Miller Lite Mainstage shows.

Related: Randy Rainbow's all-time 5 favorite videos

PrideFest Milwaukee's popular Dance Pavilion, dubbed the largest dance floor in the Midwest, returned again this year with DJ headliners Chris Cox, Gauthreaux & Grind, and Antics. Celebrity hosts included Chicago's own Trannika Rex and Dixie Lynn Cartwright. In addition, the Pavilion hosted shows from from D.I.X. DollHaus, Lady Gia, SWELL, BoyToy Chicago burlesque, and more.

Photos: PrideFest Friday | PrideFest Saturday | PrideFest Sunday

PrideFest Milwaukee celebrates milestone 30th anniversary

This year also marked a milestone for organizers as Milwaukee Pride, Inc. celebrated its 30th anniversary.

PrideFest Milwaukee began in 1987, thanks to the efforts of the Milwaukee Lesbian/Gay Pride Committee, which hosted the first in a series of 30 consecutive Pride celebrations that year.

Milwaukee's festival is unique among Pride festivals in that it has its own, permanent festival park to call home. While most Pride events around the country, including Chicago, take place at block parties, neighborhood parks, or temporary stages, PrideFest Milwaukee is now celebrating its 21st year at Henry W. Maier Festival Park, home to Summerfest, the nation's largest music festival, as well as Milwaukee's summer ethnic festivals.

The admission fee is reinvested in the local community. Through a Proud Partners program, Milwaukee Pride, Inc. (501c3 non-profit parent and festival producer) supports more than 100 local service organizations with people, dollar and sponsorship resources. Each year, the PrideFest Plus One program raises needed funds to support critical community causes. This year, PrideFest guests were encouraged to donate $1 – or any dollar amount – when purchasing tickets to support GSAFE, formerly known as Gay Straight Alliance For Safe Schools.

PrideFest Milwaukee 2017 raised $5,109 for GSAFE, Wisconsin's greatest advocate for LGBTQ students in an academic setting.

Related: Steve Grand continues to evolve sound, second album due this fall