Denver's biggest celebration of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender culture returns this weekend with its marquee event — the Denver PrideFestin downtown's Civic Center park — followed by a massive parade along East Colfax Avenue.

Organizers at the Center, which puts on most Pride Week events, estimate Denver's PrideFest is the country's third-largest, attracting 325,000 people over two days to Civic Center last year.

Large crowds gathered in Civic Center park at the main stage to listen to a variety of music through out the afternoon at Denver’s 35th annual
Large crowds gathered in Civic Center park at the main stage to listen to a variety of music through out the afternoon at Denver's 35th annual PrideFest this weekend culminating in the PrideFest parade today June 19th, 2011. (Helen Richardson, The Denver Post)

This year's 39th annual events will again feature more than 250 vendor booths featuring arts, crafts, food and drink, a transgender resources area, and several family-friendly and kids' activities courtesy of Frontier Airlines, including a June 21 kid's parade (at 11 a.m.), sack and relay races, water-balloon toss and other field day-style activities.

Performances at PrideFest this year include David Hernandez ("American Idol"), Frenchie Davis ("The Voice," various Broadway productions) and BenDeLaCreme ("RuPaul's Drag Race"), in addition to the popular Orgullo Latino Stage.

The Coors Light PrideFest Parade, which is expected to draw 100,000 attendees, kicks off at 9:30 a.m. June 22 at Cheesman Park (East 13th Avenue and Franklin Streets) and proceeds west on East Colfax Avenue to Civic Center.


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Festival events take place at 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on June 21 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on June 22. PrideFest general admission is free, with VIP areas available.

A Big Gay 5K will also start (and end) at Civic Center at 10 a.m. June 21, with registration available at active.com and closing on June 20 ($35).

Call 303-733-7743 or visit glbtcolorado.org/pridefest for more information.

John Wenzel: 303-954-1642, jwenzel@denverpost.com or twitter.com/johnwenzel