Never Been to a Pride Event? Go to the Rainbows Festival!

Before college, I had never experienced a pride event. I was raised in a teeny weeny town that most people would consider boring. And I won’t lie, my home isn’t something to brag about. It’s the type of place that has you terrified to go inside a Walmart looking like crap because there’s always a chance you’ll run into someone you know. Every. Single. Time.


It sucked and the fact that there wasn’t a single drop of LGBTQ+ pride to be seen anywhere. I would see pictures of cities all around the country having a blast with such beautiful parades and I would think, stuck in the middle of a desert, great.

Well good news: Phoenix and college granted my wish! I mean, yeah, ironically enough it is still technically in a desert but hey, the Arizona capital is crazy huge. During winter, I definitely forget I’m in a state that causes people to sweat waterfalls.


Sweaty faces aside, I got the amazing opportunity of going to the Rainbows Festival! It’s an annual celebration in Phoenix honoring diversity in the LGBTQ community. And let me tell you--it’s freaking great.



There I was last year, a newbie freshman, completely clueless to... well everything. Keep in mind, I’m from a town that’s literally a gas stop for tourists, so events for anything are very few and far between. So you can imagine the excitement I felt on the Lyft drive to the festival (I originally started walking with a friend to the event since it was close but our dumb tushies got lost on the way).


So as I was saying, there I was, standing in the middle of the road as I noticed tons of booths lined up on the sides. Rainbow flags and all sorts of colors were worn on dozens of people walking throughout the road. Music was pumping from a stage I couldn’t quite see, but as I got closer I realized what it was: a drag queen show!


People were dancing along as the drag queens rocked out on stage, dancing like pros. They were incredibly talented and I could only smile as I watched everyone let loose. Honestly, that was the thing that I loved the most about the festival- the freedom.


Everywhere I went, people wore such bright and pretty colors. There were clothes I had never seen before because, in those very moments, people didn’t feel scared to show all the beauty that society pushes them to hide. The festival felt like a safe space, a break from a life that might sometimes feel restricting.


The point is to celebrate the diversity in life, the very thing the LGBQT+ community to this day still has to fight for to be heard in this world. So we have to allow ourselves to enjoy the moments where we can feel free to be who we are. In its own way, that’s the best message one could give in our fight for progress.


This festival made me smile so much because I met so many different people who looked so relaxed and happy as they dressed, acted, talked and were just who they wanted to be.


There was a point during my trip when I stopped to eat some ice cream and I did the most random thing in the world: I laughed. I was just sitting there on a table laughing and smiling and you know what? I realized I was in one of the happiest places I have ever been in.


Overall, I could 1000% assure anyone that the Rainbows Festival is a blast. At the end of the day I brought along reminders and tons of free stuff like these awesome looking bracelets I still wear to this day and condoms I so generously brought for a friend.


So one thing’s for sure in my future: I’m going again this year!


The Rainbows Festival will take place on October 20-21. It’s in Heritage Square and I hope to see you there!