Duluth Superior Pride returns with in-person events this weekend, after taking its programming online last year.

“The feedback that we’ve gotten from the community is that they really wanted it in person,” said Abby Gannon, treasurer of the nonprofit.

“Together again, stronger than ever,” is the motto for this year’s celebration, which kicks off Thursday, Sept. 2, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 5, in the Twin Ports. The roster of events includes a free festival, parade and various parties as well as an artist’s reception.

Planning for this year’s Duluth Superior Pride Festival picked up in July, before the delta variant of COVID-19 started surging.

“We’ve had some conversations over the last several weeks and it’s like, ‘Do we cancel?’ No, we take precautions,” Gannon said.

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Superior Fire Department Captain Lindzi Campbell waves from Engine 3 during the Duluth Superior Pride Parade on Tower Avenue on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019. 
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Superior Fire Department Captain Lindzi Campbell waves from Engine 3 during the Duluth Superior Pride Parade on Tower Avenue on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Participants are strongly encouraged to wear masks at Pride events and maintain social distancing, she said. Sanitizer stations will be set up during the festival at Bayfront Park, as well. Various venues, from bars to theaters, may require additional safety protocols.

For example, the Zeitgeist Arts Building requires proof of full COVID-19 vaccination completed at least 14 days prior or a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours. The venue will house three showings of Zenith City Horror’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” The new protocol was announced last week in response to rising level of COVID-19 transmission in the area. The musical is new to the Pride lineup this year.

Duluth Superior Pride began in 1986 with a small gathering at Duluth's Lester Park.

“For the next several years they jumped to various parks around town so that people could access it, because not everybody has a car,” Gannon said. “And over the years, it just grew.”

The Statue of Liberty waves from the front of the Stonewall DFL float during the Duluth Superior Pride Parade on Tower Avenue on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019. 
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
The Statue of Liberty waves from the front of the Stonewall DFL float during the Duluth Superior Pride Parade on Tower Avenue on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Now housed at Bayfront Festival Park, it remains a place to build community, awareness and understanding.

“The entire point of Pride is to take our space, to literally be in the spotlight and say ‘We’re here, we’re not going anywhere, and we deserve all the same rights as everybody else,’” Gannon said. “It’s about taking our space in society.”

After 35 years, it’s still relevant.

“Because we still face a lot of discrimination; we still face a lot of prejudice,” Gannon said. “There are literally instances that I can think of from people that I know who face bias based entirely on their gender or their sexuality.”

She said the festival will open with a drum circle from the Native Two Spirit Society and feature AfroGeode, a queer Black woman, as the headline act, a change from previous years.

“So we’re trying to lift up voices that generally don’t get the recognition that they generally need, the voices of people who are traditionally oppressed,” Gannon said. “They meet the intersection of a couple of different types of oppression.”

The nonprofit’s activities are for everyone.

“I’ve you’re part of the community, then it’s all about joining the rest of the community and if you’re not, if you’re an ally, it’s about supporting us,” Gannon said.

Find a full listing of events at www.duluthsuperiorpride.com or on the Duluth Superior Pride Facebook page.

This year’s slate of events includes the following:

Tuesday, Aug. 31

  • Pre-Pride Kickoff at the Vikre Distillery, 6-10 p.m., 525 S. Lake Ave., Suite 102.

Thursday, Sept. 2

  • Meet the artists at an art reception for the annual Duluth Superior Pride Art Exhibition, 3-5 p.m. at the Duluth Public Library, free.

  • Mayor’s opening reception, 5-8 p.m., St. Louis County Depot, 506 W. Michigan St., free.

  • “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” performed by Zenith City Horror at Zeitgeist Teatro Zuccone, 7:30 p.m., admission $27.

Friday, Sept. 3

  • Free in-studio and virtual Duluth Superior Pride Zumba/dance cardio/pomsquad fitness with Ignite Studio, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

  • Party X at the Duluth Flame nightclub and Flashback at The Main Club in Superior, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., $5 cover charge.

  • “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” performed by Zenith City Horror at Zeitgeist Teatro Zuccone, 7:30 p.m., admission $27.

Saturday, Sept. 4

  • Duluth Superior Pride Festival, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Bayfront Festival Park, free admission.

  • Block party at The Main Club and Superior Flame, 8 p.m., $10 cover.

  • “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” performed by Zenith City Horror at Zeitgeist Teatro Zuccone, 7:30 p.m. $27 admission.

Sunday, Sept. 5

  • Pride church services, First United Methodist, 230 E. Skyline Parkway, Duluth, fellowship at 9 a.m., service at 10 a.m.

  • Pride Parade, noon, Tower Avenue, Superior, free.

  • Foo Foo Choo Choo, 2 p.m. pre-boarding party, 3:30 p.m. train departs on three-hour trip up the shore, tickets available at duluthtrains.com.

  • Annual drag show fundraiser, 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., The Main Club, Superior, $5 cover.