MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twin Cities Pride was canceled last year, and its return is one of the very first large events since the pandemic began. There are events happening all weekend long, with the exception of a few.

The weekend started off with the Pride Beer Dabbler on Friday night, and will continue with the Loring Park Festival on Saturday and Sunday. There will be vendors, food trucks and drag shows both days in the park.

However, there will be not be a Pride parade or march, nightly concerts, or fireworks. TC Pride organizers said this was simply because they did not have enough time to coordinate those events in the small planning window they were given once restrictions were lifted earlier this year.

The Loring Park festival has around 300 vendors this year, which is 100 fewer vendors than they usually have for this event. Organizers say they kept participation slightly smaller to help social distance throughout the park.

“This year was a lot harder to get in as a vendor,” said Quinn Kathner Tucker, who owns Queen on the Scene, a LGBTQ operated t-shirt and accessories shop from South Dakota. She’s happy to be back to an in-person pride event because this contributes to most of her revenue.

“Festival sales may be 90% of my income, so with small businesses like mine, having no festivals last year was devastating,” said Kathner Tucker.

READ MORE: Twin Cities Pride Increases Accessibility For First Festival In 2 Years

In the middle of the park, the Gay Lesbian Amateur Sports Society – better known as GLASS – picked up a pride volleyball tournament. Chue Chi Kong is thrilled to be playing in person with his team again, which also took a hiatus during the pandemic.

“It honestly felt like nothing changed when we all came back together, it was so nice,” said Kong.

Even though a few traditions were missing this year, everyone was just happy to be back together, in a safe, welcoming space.

“We celebrate pride every day, but it’s so nice to be able to see so much support from our community and to be able to be here with other people,” said another festival participant Victor Barge.

The Loring Park Pride festival is happening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Twin Cities Pride says they plan to have everything back and more next year because it will be their 50th year, and they want it to be the biggest year yet.

Marielle Mohs