The green in technicolor

Austin's Waterloo Greenway transforms into a rainbow for one-day Pride festival

Austin's Waterloo Greenway transforms into rainbow for Pride fest

A dog wearing a Pride bandanna sits with people at a park.
Rainbow on the Creek returns for its first year at the new Waterloo Greenway. Photo courtesy of Waterloo Greenway

The season of rainbow capitalism is upon us. Thankfully, there are some safer havens, one of the biggest being Waterloo Greenway, the twisting park and event venue coming into its own nearly a year after major renovations.

Rainbow on the Creek, a family-friendly event, will be held June 11 at Waterloo Park, lending a platform to LGBTQIA-owned businesses, community initiatives, and local performers.

Highest on the list of attractions in this enthusiastic Pride celebration are the world-class performers, ranging from celebrated local artists to household names. Gina Chávez, a “queer, Catholic, internationally-acclaimed Latinx pop artist,” will give another high-energy show that many Austinites, plus over 1 million Tiny Desk viewers are familiar with. Local Americana band Pelvis Wrestley will be soundtracking Happy Hour “in the spirit of queer patriotism,” if they stick to their mission statement. Other local performers include Thor & Friends, Andie Flores, P1nkstar, Y2K, Erica Nix, World Famous *BOB*, and DJ Chorizo Funk.

Austin drag queens will take the stage in a showcase led by Vylette Ward & Jezebel, and meet littles in a Drag Queen Storytime organized with the Austin Public Library. RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Roxxxy Andrews will be here to make it clear that this event is a must-see Pride destination.

Also on site, guests can participate in interactive programming that can — and does — stand alone in year-round Austin events. A craft market curated by accessories seller Las Ofrendas will feature queer BIPOC and Latinx artisan-made goods, and a dance workshop led by Dance Waterloo will give visitors a chance to get moving less self-consciously.

It’s not all fun and drag; the event saves space for important learning and action that can be implemented right away, in between dance breaks. The event page offers nondescript “gender affirming care and on-site testing,” and a panel called LGBTQIA+ Equity in Public Spaces will be moderated by creative consultant Jeremy Teel, director of Beyond Brotha. The organization plans events and creates safe spaces for men of color and all identities therein.

Since Rainbow on the Creek hasn’t happened since 2019, and the Moody Amphitheater has only been open since last August, this is the event’s first year in the long-anticipated new space. The venue is most often used as a single-headliner concert venue and has no trouble filling its 5,000-person capacity. The greenway recently secured $9 million more to continue work along the creek.

This one-day festival runs from 10 am until 9 pm, with no tickets or RSVPs. There are many more sponsors and partners, and a full program list on the event page at waterloogreenway.org.