DURHAM, N.C. — Thousands will travel from across the state toward Raleigh and Durham at the end of this month for the annual NC Pride Fest and Parade. The state’s longest-running Pride festivity, the event has seen it’s fair share of challenges recently. After violating Internal Revenue Service disclosure rules for several years in a row, NC Pride lost its tax-exempt status last year. But, organizers have pulled the group back from the brink, with director John Short restructuring it as a for-profit business venture and announcing one of the most exciting event line-ups ever.

Events kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 26 with cocktail events and parties in Durham and Raleigh. Former Village People singer Randy Jones will host a Pride Cocktail Hour at Strawvalley Cafe, 5420 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd. in Durham on Sept. 26 at 8 p.m.

On Friday, Sept. 28, things really get exciting, as more than a dozen nightlife parties, mixers, dinners and other special events are planned in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

Of course, Saturday, Sept. 29, is when all the real action will take place. NC Pride’s annual festival at Duke University’s East Campus kicks off with the NC Pride 5k Phantom Run and Walk at 8:30 a.m. Festival grounds open at 10 a.m. with an ecumenical church service at 11 a.m. At noon, a Pride rally with the parade’s marshall and other dignitaries is scheduled. The annual parade begins at 1 p.m.

On Saturday evening, another round of parties takes over the entire region. In Raleigh, the Bud Light Night Festival on Hargett St. will feature a food truck jamboree with entertainment. : :

For more information on this year’s schedule of events, visit ncpride.org.

If you go:

NC Pride Fest & Parade, Sat., Sept. 29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Duke University, East Campus. For more information and directions, visit ncpride.org.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.