Pride month may have come and gone, but Seattle’s festivities are far from over—including one of the city’s most beloved community events, Alki Beach Pride. Back for its ninth year, Seattle’s only Pride celebration on a beach is bringing even more experiences to multiple venues on August 13 and 14 under the theme of “Together Again.” There will be live music, performances, a skate-and-ride Roll OUT, a drag brunch, sunset yoga, and an outdoor movie—all on the sandy beach and boardwalk of Alki and the nearby Admiral neighborhood.
Featured performers include R&B singer DeAndre Brackensick of American Idol fame, Honolulu singer and percussionist Jenn Wright (JRoQ), and more entertainment yet to be announced. They’ll all make Alki Beach Pride a destination worth the drive (or water taxi ride) to the island of West Seattle. Check the event’s the official Instagram account for the latest updates.
“There’s a lot of moving pieces for this one,” said Stacy Bass-Walden, who co-founded Alki Beach Pride with her wife Jolie. “We’re trying to do something a little different. It’s definitely going to be different and have something for everyone.”
In previous years, Alki Pride centered mainly on the beach, boardwalk, and surrounding partner bars and restaurants, but this year’s events stretch beyond the main drag to include a few further-flung LGBTQ+-owned establishments.
The festivities kick off Saturday, August 13, at noon and last until 7 pm. The patio of Blue Moon Burgers on Alki Avenue will host a mainstage with DJs (Baby Van Breezly, Kimere, Kween Kaysh) and drag performers. Bass-Walden hinted at a not-so-secret flash mob planned for Saturday afternoon with the Kutt-N-Up Dance Team and Rainbow City Performing Arts marching band.
The revelry continues on Sunday, August 14, with a drag brunch at LGBTQ+-owned cafe Arthur’s in the Admiral neighborhood from 9 am to 3 pm, with live music from soul-pop singer Lakin, singer-songwriter Chris LeVaughn, and drag performers Londyn Bradshaw, Old Witch, Issa Man, and Cali the Stalli. Festivities carry on from noon to 6 pm with entertainment and resources on Marination Ma Kai’s patio, including DJs, Indigiqueer storytelling, a free COVID-19 vaccine and booster site, and more. (Note: This is right next to the pedestrian Water Taxi terminal—it’s about a 10-minute ride from downtown to Alki.)
At 1:30 pm, the Roll OUT starts at Alki’s tiny Statue of Liberty on the west side of the park. Expect folks on rollerskates, longboards, bikes, scooters, and ebikes rolling en masse down Alki Avenue to Marination Ma Kai.
After all that rolling, what could be a chiller wind-down than sunset yoga on the beach? Sage Wilde will head this up from around 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. After that, 3 Dollar Bill Cinema will host an outdoor screening of The Birdcage at the Alki Playground.
The multi-venue event is the work of a community-led volunteer team: Alki Beach Pride has always taken place without a bevy of big corporate sponsors, and despite the West Seattle bridge closure, it’s been steadily growing. While it’s hard to put a number to it since the free Pride event doesn’t sell tickets or wristbands, Bass-Walden said, “That’s an absolute 100%. It has grown.”
Alki Beach Pride started as a small picnic gathering over 20 years ago, and has since become an important site of diverse LGBTQ+ representation in West Seattle and other neighborhoods in the South End; many, including White Center, Burien, Federal Way, and Renton, now have their own community Pride events. Alki Beach Pride often coordinates happenings with these neighboring Pride events, working to avoid overlapping dates and sharing equipment. One of the perks of hosting Alki Beach Pride in August is the organizing team doesn’t compete with bigger venues to book performers during Pride month. Bass-Walden also noted that with smaller Pride happenings in Seattle and surrounding areas sprinkled throughout the summer, there’s events for LGBTQ+ communities all through September.
“You have all these pockets of [LGBTQ+] communities within Seattle, and Burien, Kitsap—I mean we are everywhere,” Bass-Walden said. As Pride events continue to expand and grow beyond downtown and Capitol Hill, she said he hoped they would offer a variety of things to do.
“Over the years, we’ve had teenagers come up to us and politely say, ‘Thank you so much for having us because we always want to go to the other Prides but sometimes it’s too crowded or we’re underage,’” Bass-Walden said. “[They] just love the fact that ‘We can put a blanket out and hang out with our friends and be our our true selves.’”
It’s a Pride experience that also happens to bring out Alki’s uniquely beachy vibes. Last year a visitor brought a miniature horse embellished with a unicorn horn that was later spotted eating pizza and dancing to Ginuwine’s “Pony.” It was just another example of the unplanned, (almost) anything-goes spontaneity of a by-and-for community event.
“One day, maybe a couple years down the line, we will be able to close the streets and bring in higher-named celebrities, but we still want to keep it free,” Bass-Walden said. “But right now we still have a celebration about us and not, you know, big corporate people and their dollars.”
Alki Beach Pride takes place Sat Aug 13 and Sun Aug 14 at locations around Alki Beach.