Record high attendance leads to dozens of COVID-19 vaccinations and hundreds tested for HIV
A record number of visitors converged on Dallas this weekend to celebrate gay pride month and the Juneteenth holiday, pumping millions of dollars into the local economy. The event, sponsored in part by Dallas Southern Pride (DSP), was billed as “Juneteenth Unity Weekend.”
Early estimates indicate at least 20,000 people poured into the region, filling local hotels, restaurants and shops. They were treated to three days of events, a block party and pool party as well as health screenings. Event organizers also vaccinated nearly 100 attendees against COVID-19.
“We are beyond pleased with this year’s unprecedented turnout for Dallas Southern Pride,” said lead event organizer Kirk Myers. “I want to thank everyone who traveled to our beloved Dallas to participate in this year’s Juneteenth celebration just days after the historic vote to make it a federal holiday. I also want to thank Dallas city leaders and the Dallas Police Department for partnering with us to make this record-breaking event safe and enjoyable,” Myers said.
This year’s event also marked many firsts, including:
- HIV positivity rate drops below 10 percent among more than 200 attendees tested
- 50 attendees sign up for the HIV prevention drug PrEP
- Dallas flies official gay pride flag over Dallas police headquarters
- The Dallas Police Department held a recruitment drive targeting LGBTQ applicants
- The Dallas skyline was lighted in the Juneteenth and Black Pride colors
- The Dallas Southern Pride Official Pride flag is debuted and flown for the first time at the Sheraton Market Center.
The three-day DSP event was also a shot in the arm to the area economy, including:
- Generating an estimated $2.2 million in revenue for local businesses hit hard by a nearly year-long pandemic shut down
- Employing hundreds of “gig workers” previously sidelined by the corona virus pandemic
- The Sheraton Suites Market Center Dallas host hotel and two overflow hotels sell out
- More than two dozen vendors—the largest number in the event’s history— participate in the block party
This year’s massive success is a testament to the enormous trust our supporters have given us. That’s why planning is already underway for the 2022 Dallas Southern Pride/ Juneteenth celebration, when we hope to welcome even more visitors to our great city.
Dallas Southern Pride dates back to 1997 when a small group of Black LGBTQ friends gathered to celebrate and uplift each other. In 2016, Juneteenth was included in the celebration to honor the essence and spirit of Black culture.