Our History: Northwest Arkansas' ﬁrst pride parade rolled down Dickson Street in June 2004. Before the 2004 parade, groups of local citizens organized various celebrations to unite the LGBTQ community and promote acceptance. These included small rallies, marches, picnics, and, as early as 1975, the Miss Gay Fayetteville Arkansas America pageant held at George’s Majestic Lounge.
NWA Pride formed in 2007 to officially operate the parade, while the NWA Center for Equality organized associated Pride events throughout June. In 2015, the NWA Pride organization and the NWA Center for Equality merged to create Northwest Arkansas Equality, and the ﬁrst paid staff were hired to assist in operating the parade and festival, which had grown in scope and attendance over the years. Throughout 2016 and 2017, NWA Equality continued to grow, and our expanded efforts brought our first celebrity, Trixie Mattel, to NWA Pride. Over a decade of countless hours of contributions from passionate staff and volunteers, NWA Equality grew Pride from 200 participants and spectators in 2007 into an annual tradition and Northwest Arkansas' largest parade.
With new leadership and an expanded NWA Pride committee, 2018 brought a new vision and full reimagining of NWA Pride's operations and events. These changes brought the Pride Festival to Dickson Street, with multiple stages and a dedicated family zone, and doubled the event to 15,000 attendees and over 2,000 parade participants. Further expansion efforts in 2019 grew the parade to be Fayetteville’s largest, at over 2,500 participants and 20,000+ attendees. We featured celebrity comedian Fortune Feimster, movie star and TV personality drag queen Shangela, and internationally renowned DJ Joe Ross.
Last Year: Like most organizations in 2020, COVID-19 disrupted our planned events, but in less than five weeks. With the help of 25 volunteers donating over 600 working hours of writing, acting, and editing, we successfully transformed our live events into a virtual environment. The live-streamed events included a virtual parade, consisting of over 60 sponsor, community, and celebrity video submissions; an online happy hour and live concert, produced by Maxine’s Tap Room; a digital drag show, produced by C4 Nightclub; a virtual version of Glitterville with two celebrity DJs; and the highly praised broadcast of Equality Street, a youth variety show created and filmed by NWA Pride volunteers. This production brought together 23,000 people on our broadcasting streams, and many of these events are available on our YouTube channel. NWA Equality’s video submissions were also featured on the 24-hour Global Pride broadcast, where over 57 Million people tuned in to watch submissions from organizations and celebrities from all over the world. We represented Arkansas as one of the five U.S. Pride organizations in the Central America timeslot. Due to generous support from our sponsors and the community, the revenue from these virtual events prevented NWA Equality from a budget shortfall. These funds ensured we could continue our HIV testing program and other essential services during the pandemic.
This Year: As vaccination rates increase and COVID-19 concerns lessen, and we find our community in need to be able to gather and protest, the 17th annual NWA Pride Parade will return in person! June 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. AIDS activist Ruth Coker Burks will serve as our Parade's grand marshal, and her story will be woven into events throughout June. Trans activist, and the first trans person elected to office in Arkansas, Evelyn Rios Stafford will serve as a Parade honoree. New for 2021, NWA Trans March is a planned protest for the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming Arkansans. NWA Pride Weekend will also feature established, limited audience, socially distanced, in-person experiences such as the Ozarks Drag Brunch and Out in the Ozarks, featuring comedian Matteo Lane.
With over 20,000 participants, Northwest Arkansas Pride Weekend is the state's largest LGBTQ celebration, and we hope you will help us continue to celebrate one of the most colorful displays of diversity and inclusion in Arkansas!
Sponsors make Northwest Arkansas Pride a reality and fuel all the valuable programs, services, and resources we as an organization can provide to our community. Funding from NWA Pride sponsorships allows NWA Equality to produce high-quality events and experiences and provide large-scale visibility for the LGBTQ community in Northwest Arkansas.
According to recent figures, 90% of LGBTQ individuals report business participation in LGBTQ events and charities significantly influence their purchasing decisions; 1 out of 4 LGBTQ adults switched products or service providers because they found a competing company that supports LGBTQ causes.
Through a sponsorship to NWA Pride, you have the opportunity to build strong visibility and LGBTQ engagement for your brand. Visibility spans numerous restaurants, bars, and merchants throughout the Northwest Arkansas region, plus 20,000 event attendees who will recognize your contribution and commitment to the LGBTQ community. Our market reach includes advertising throughout Arkansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Joplin, Springfield, Kansas City, and Dallas, and our 2019 events included attendees from California, Georgia, Illinois, and Tennessee. Northwest Arkansas Equality holds a 135,000+ Facebook reach, over 18,000 annual website impressions, and realized a staggering 200,000 Instagram views for NWA Pride in 2019. Our 2020 virtual events carried 23,000 viewers during peak streaming events.
Please help us support and strengthen NWA Pride weekend, LGBTQ visibility, and essential community services through tax-deductible donations, all the while building loyalty, and rapport with an increasingly important consumer segment.
+ Exclusive NWA Pride Weekend Presenting Sponsor Rights
+ Largest Logo on Merchandise and Marketing Materials
+ 90 Second Sponsor Video Submission, Broadcast on Social Media Platforms
+ Recognition in Publicity Efforts and Social Media Platforms
+ All Earned Media
+ 2 Tented Vendor Booth Spaces, 4 Chairs & 2 Tables
+ NWA Pride Parade Entry
+ NWA Pride Insignia Sticker