It’s a brand new year. Time for new adventures and outings. There are innumerable new experiences waiting for you across the region — new sights to see, new places you might not have ever visited, events you might not have ever attended.
Here are 10 ideas for LGBT travel and fun in this beautiful new 2015…
In March, Charlotte’s One Voice Chorus, the area’s first LGBT choral group, celebrates its 25th anniversary with two special performances of its anniversary concert, “Wish: Dreams into Reality” on March 20 and March 21. Learn more at onevoicechorus.com.
In April, Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte returns with the third installment of their “Big Gay Sing,” a community-wide sing-along celebration. This year, the group highlights the “soundtrack that accompanied the LGBT rights movement since Stonewall,” with music from the likes of Jimmy Somerville and Erasure, Sylvester, k.d. lang, Madonna, Lady Gaga and more. Learn more at gmccharlotte.org.
In May, two large-scale events, one in Charlotte and the other in Raleigh, will bring together the community for awareness, action and fellowship. In Charlotte, the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network will take to Uptown streets for their AIDS Walk Charlotte. Visit carolinarain.org for more. In Raleigh, the LGBT Center of Raleigh will present its annual Out! Raleigh festival on May 2. If you’re looking for a new, somewhat different Pride festival-style event, be sure to learn more at outraleigh.org.
In June, travel south to Augusta for its annual Pride festival. It’s one of the few Pride festivals across the region to actually hold their event during National LGBT Pride Month, this year slated for June 26-27 — the same weekend we all celebrate the iconic Stonewall Riots. Learn more at augustapride.org.
In August, head to Durham’s Carolina Theatre for the North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, the South’s second-largest LGBT film festival. Going strong since 1995, the festival celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015. Events are slated Aug. 14-22. Learn more at carolinatheatre.org/films/festivals/ncglff.
Also in August, don’t miss out on the ever-growing Charlotte Pride, this year slated for Aug. 15-16. What was once a small festival tucked away in Uptown’s Marshall Park has grown into the region’s largest LGBT Pride festival and parade. Organizers said they had more than 100,000 visitors in 2014. Learn more at charlottepride.org.
Last but not least, don’t miss out on the waning days of summer at the beach. Outer Banks Pride offers a smaller, unique Pride festival experience. Lounge around on a sandy beach while watching performances or take evening cruises into the Atlantic sunset. Final dates have yet to be announced, but the event is usually held in September. Learn more at obxpridefest.com.
As the weather cools and the year comes to an end, take a weekend trip to the beautiful North Carolina mountains for Asheville’s Blue Ridge Pride. Spend the day visiting Pride merchants and the evenings strolling through some of Asheville’s art galleries, shops and more. The 2015 event is slated for Oct. 3. Learn more at blueridgepride.org.
Also in October, take a break for learning and enlightenment and attend the University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s annual OUTspoken speakers series. Each year, the university brings in engaging, nationally-known voices to discuss issues of importance to the LGBT community. Past speakers have included transgender activist Kate Bornstein, former Human Rights Campaign Executive Director Elizabeth Birch and slam-poet and author Staceyann Chin. A speaker for 2015 hasn’t yet been announced, but stay up-to-date with the details at outspoken.uncc.edu. : :
Thinking of turning your LGBT day or weekend trips into full-blown vacations? Check out these resources making the best of your planning.
Outer Banks: outerbanks.org
North Carolina: visitnc.com
South Carolina: discoversouthcarolina.com