Scenes from Behind…a look at what goes on at PrideFest

Kathy Griffin arriving, June, 2010








A recap of the 25th Anniversary, PrideFest 2012

Community Spirit Soars at 25th Anniversary Celebration
Milwaukee, WI – As the opening act for Milwaukee’s summer festival season, PrideFest Milwaukee drew 28,137 guests to Henry W. Maier Festival Park last weekend, an increase of nearly 10% over last year’s attendance of 26,112.  Overcoming tremendous financial challenges, including losses incurred by the 2011 festival, organizers mobilized the community, produced an exceptional experience, and guaranteed PrideFest’s return for a 26th year in 2013.
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“For PrideFest to survive another year, we really needed to meet attendance and revenue targets this year,” said Scott Gunkel, PrideFest president. “I am proud to say that we, as a community, exceeded both goals. We actually generated more revenue than any other PrideFest in our 25-year history.”
“We cannot say enough about the special people who reached a little deeper into their pockets and gave more of themselves this year to make sure PrideFest happened,” said Gunkel.  Because of the organization’s non-profit status, final financial results will be released following confirmation by a fiscal agent.
Community spirit was also reflected in record-breaking volunteerism this year. Over 400 individuals donated the gift of time to ensure a safe, meaningful and memorable experience for festival attendees. “Our volunteers work diligently all year round. We are one of the largest LGBT pride festivals in the nation with not a single paid employee. The devotion of our volunteers and support organizations is the lifeforce of PrideFest,” said Gunkel.
Highlights of this year’s festivals included headliners Belinda Carlisle, Taylor Dayne, God-Des & She and Berlin (featuring Terri Nunn), who hosted daily backstage meet & greets with fans; the Wom!nz Spot Lounge & Cafe, an all-inclusive lakefront space showcasing local female talent; the Pride Patrol, a “social media street team” that captured a 25th anniversary photo collection; the Proud Crowd, a membership program that raised over $5,000 in community donations; and the nation’s largest line-up of LGBT entertainment, including Honey LaBronx, Shane Ashton, Jordin Baas and the Family Band, the Miltown Kings, Brew City Sisters, and over 60 additional acts.
At Friday’s opening ceremonies, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett officially dedicated June 8, 9 and 10, 2012 as PrideFest throughout the entire city of Milwaukee, and as the official kick-off for the 2012 summer festival season.
“You should be proud of everything that you have done. I am very, very proud,” said Mayor Barrett at the dedication. “Milwaukee is a city that embraces diversity of all types. An open city where people respect each other for who they are. I think that is one of the great strengths of this community, and I can be proud of our city because of that.”
“Congratulations to PrideFest Milwaukee for 25 strong years.  1987 was a good year for me too!” said Saturday night headliner Taylor Dayne. “We want to thank you, everybody who puts on Milwaukee pride,” added Terri Nunn of Berlin on Sunday night. “It’s a lot of work. And you do an amazing job!”
About Us
The mission of PrideFest is to celebrate the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) culture and community. PrideFest, Inc is a 501c4 nonprofit organization, compliant with all State of Wisconsin and IRS rules.