Greenwood Pride Festival attendees wear rainbow flags during the 2023 festival. This year’s event will be noon to 6 p.m. at Woodmen Park in Greenwood, and will feature food trucks, vendors, live music, Kids Kamp with kid-friendly entertainment and local drag personalities and more. DAILY JOURNAL FILE PHOTO

From the start, the Greenwood Pride Festival has focused on one main goal — creating a space where everyone can be their authentic self.

Organizers wanted the event to be a celebration of diversity. Whether that’s the LGBTQ+ community or simply families looking for a free day of fun, the point was to make everyone feel comfortable.

And this year’s festival will be the biggest and most expansive one yet.

“Pride is for everybody. You don’t have to be LGBTQ+ to be part of this,” said John Michael Jones, founder and assistant director of the Greenwood Pride nonprofit.

Greenwood Pride Festival returns this weekend, promising a diverse and engaging day of family-friendly entertainment aimed at bringing all people together. Organizers have lined up everything from live music, food trucks and a beer and wine garden to drag shows and on-site health information.

Nearly 200 vendors have signed on to participate, and family-friendly events such as storytime, face painting, a Kids Kamp and the “bounce haus village” offers something for all ages.

Organizers expect between 12,000 and 14,000 people to take part.

“We always say we celebrate the diversity of Greenwood. It’s not just about the queer community; we want to share that we’re more diverse than we look,” said Suzanne Fortenberry, executive director of Greenwood Pride.

Greenwood Pride was founded in 2018 as a way to organize LGBTQIA+ Pride events locally, with a goal to inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate the diversity of the community. The first festival was staged in 2021 at Craig Park before moving to its current home at Woodman Park in 2022.

The event has grown significantly each year since.

“Every year it gets better,” said Denise Lee, treasurer of the Greenwood Pride board. “We try to improve every year.”

Along the way, organizers have made adjustments and tweaks to the set-up of the festival to make it a better experience for everyone. Parking has been a challenge in the past, so an entire committee has been assigned to direct guests to the proper lots, Fortenberry said.

Organizers have worked closely with city officials, particularly the parks and police departments, who have been incredibly helpful in assisting with planning the festival.

“They tell us what to do, and we do it. We trust them, and they take care of us,” Fortenberry said.

Entertainment options have also expanded, Jones said. Three different G-rated drag shows are planned, with 24 performers taking part. The drag shows culminate with the Drag Eleganza Finale, created in honor of locally known perfomer Tristyn St. Clair, who died of suicide last year.

Music will be provided by Dale Bitner, Making State and headliner Remington Hill, who was featured on “American Idol.”

Cast and aerialists from the locally created original musical, “Just Beginning,” are scheduled to perform.

Mallow Run Winery and MashCraft Brewing will have special Pride-themed offerings, as well as other beer and wine, for the 21-and-over crowd. Food trucks will provide a wide variety of food options.

The festival also serves as a vehicle to connect people in the LGBTQ+ community, and the public in general, to important resources and services.

A health hub will provide services such as health screenings, information about mental health and more. An emphasis has been made on suicide prevention.

“It’s extremely important right now,” Fortenberry said.

The festival has also partnered with Step-Up, a nonprofit focused on improving the health of underserved and marginalized communities, to put together a clothing exchange. People can bring clean clothing that will be set out for the public to take for free if they need gender-affirming clothes.

“Letting somebody dress they way they want to feel to dress is gender-affirming care,” Jones said. “We wanted to do something nice there too.”

Admission to the festival is entirely free, but people should go to Eventbrite and secure a ticket, Fortenberry said.

Organizers hope that with such a wide array of options and attractions, the festival once again provides a safe place for everyone.

“We treat people the way we want to be treated. We treat the queens right, we treat the performers right, we treat the volunteers right. We’re doing outreach, and doing everything we can to integrate into the community and be good stewards of this,” Lee said.


Greenwood Pride Festival

Where: Woodmen Park, 720 Ashmore Dr., Greenwood

When: Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday

Greenwood Pride Festival will feature food trucks, vendors, live music, Kids Kamp with kid-friendly entertainment and local drag personalities and more.

The event is free and open to everyone. Get a ticket at

Parking: Available at Greenwood High School and the park’s south lot, located off of Crescent Drive.

For up-to-date information, go to