2019 Pride Fest Logo.JPG

2019 CU Pride Fest

Queer History. Our History.

10th Annual Champaign-Urbana Pride Fest 2019

The UP Center of Champaign County is proud to announce the 2019 Champaign-Urbana Pride Fest and Parade. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of our local pride celebration, and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village, New York, the community will honor these milestones the weekend of September 27-29, 2019, in downtown Champaign.

The popular outdoor celebration and vendor fair will take place in the City of Champaign lot, north of One Main Plaza in downtown Champaign on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM, with performances and entertainment on the main stage throughout the day.

The UP Center will once again partner with the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum to provide family fun for children of all ages. There will be no entrance fee to the museum from 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM for families to enjoy all the Orpheum has to offer.

At 3:00 PM on Saturday, Sept. 28th, Illinois’ LARGEST downstate pride parade kicks off. The parade is free, family-friendly and a celebration of love for all.

CU Pride Fest is a volunteer-led fundraising event intended to bring together the LGBTQ+ and ally community for a weekend celebration of love, inclusion, acceptance and fun!

Parade and vendor registration forms are now live at www.unitingpride.org. Please keep checking in with our website (https://www.unitingpride.org/pride-fest-2019), and follow us on social media ( https://www.facebook.com/UPCenter/) for continued updates on our expanding schedule of events during and leading up to PrideFest weekend in Champaign-Urbana.

For media inquiries about the 2019 Pride Fest, please contact pride@unitingpride.org.

Be sure to stick around after the parade for all the Pride festivities!!

Help us create an amazing, inclusive celebration by being yourself to be on the right side of history!

Please follow the links below for more information.

The UP Center of Champaign County is proud to announce the theme for the 10th annual C-U Pride Parade and Fest: “Queer History, Our History.”

This year's celebration marks significant anniversaries for both the UP Center and LGBTQ+ history. September is the 10th anniversary of the UP Center and the start of the C-U Pride Parade and Fest. The UP Center started in September of 2009 and a small Pride celebration took place in Lincoln Square Mall in 2010. With an ever changing, dedicated group of volunteers, C-U Pride has grown to be the largest Pride celebration in Illinois outside of Chicago.

In addition to the local anniversary, we are celebrating what many see as the ignition of LGBTQ+ Civil Rights movement – the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Riots. In June of 1969, the transgender and gay patrons of the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, fought back against another early morning raid by New York city police. Over the next few years, starting in 1970, Pride parades and commemorations were celebrated in recognition of the Stonewall demonstrations. The 50/10 logo in celebration of this important milestones was created by Adam Alexander for the UP Center in commemoration of Marsha P. Johnson and the flower crowns she often adorned.


Logo by Adam Alexander

Logo by Adam Alexander


UP Center History

The UP Center of Champaign County was started in the Fall of 2009 with the purpose to plan and promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and allied support services, social gathering, special events, and education in Champaign County. At that time, there were a few individual groups providing a variety of supports for the LGBTQ+ community that were struggling over the same things: audience, space, funds, and general resources. The UP Center was formed to provide an umbrella structure for which these things could be shared. 

The Center was founded by a dedicated group of volunteers who came together to develop the organization’s mission and structure. The structure was intentionally developed to be flexible and allow growth through community need and volunteerism. The Center was incorporated by the state of Illinois as a non-profit organization in January 2010 and the Federal 501(c)(3) application for Tax-Exempt status was submitted to the IRS in February of 2010. 

Since its beginning, the UP Center has focused on building connections with individuals, groups, organizations, and municipalities in order to cultivate a community of support, share resources, and educate. The first support groups formed under the organization’s umbrella were the youth group (Talk It UP), and the men’s support group (Man UP). Over the years, several groups have provided support to different communities as needed, while our community has also benefited from the Center’s special events such as the C-U Pride Parade and Festival.


A Brief History Lesson About the Stonewall Riots

Another raid by New York City police on the Stonewall Inn in the early morning of June 28, 1969 seemed to be the breaking point for the gay, lesbian, and transgender patrons of the Greenwich Village safe haven. When police lined up the slightly more than two hundred patrons in the bar, the group was separated into those who were about to be arrested. This group included all persons with male genitalia that were dressed as women, a crime in 1969. While waiting for the patrol wagons to make an appearance to bring those arrested to the police station, the crowd grew agitated and restless. The officers, outnumbered, soon found themselves and some of those they were going to arrest barricaded back in the bar. Thirteen people in total were arrested. It is estimated that some 500 to 600 people were outside the Stonewall that night. The riot lasted until 4 a.m., then started again the next night. For six nights, the local gay community, drag queens and transgender patrons, homeless youth, and allies, filled Christopher Street and the surrounding neighborhood. From that night, organizations like the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, founded by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, and the Gay Liberation Front formed. Now, fifty years later, parades and celebrations are held around the world to remember that Pride started as a riot.