Despite holding on to the bitter end, Austin Pride announced Wednesday, August 11 that its 2021 parade and after-party planned for this weekend will be postponed due to rising COVID-19 delta variant cases.
This is the second year the parade — scheduled to take place Saturday, August 14 — will not go on as scheduled, after drawing in 40,000 people 2019. It’s not a firm cancellation, but for now the street will be empty Saturday of its planned festivities. So far, smaller in-person Pride events are still on.
A press release from the organizers shares that “in order to survive, and thrive, [the organization] will be working towards a path forward with sponsors, participants, partners, and community stakeholders.”
Comments on the social media announcement overwhelmingly supported the decision. There has been little public response yet to the continuation of Rainbow Skate and Raw at Oilcan Harry’s.
Austin Pride told KVUE that the organization had been contacted by city officials Tuesday morning.
“The choice was made for us, and for the safety of our city and community, to put a pause on in-person gatherings,” the organization wrote in an Instagram post announcing the change. In its statement to KVUE, the group noted the event previously “met all of its permit and event requirements.”
Until the postponement, Pride’s messaging about the parade focused on wearing masks at the outdoor event. This advice was in line with Austin’s guidance for Stages 4 and 5, recommending vaccinated people with normal risk simply wear masks and keep some distance outdoors. The same guidance urged partially vaccinated and unvaccinated people to stay home, and use takeaway or curbside services for dining and shopping.
The parade was scheduled to travel down Congress Avenue in downtown Austin before ending at Fourth Street for the parade’s first-ever official after-party. Information on sponsors and participants was already limited, but a post on Instagram declared that participation in the parade was “sold out.”
Five days after the city entered Stage 4 in late July, PFLAG announced it would pull its participation, offering support groups and encouraging onlookers via email to “find community, virtually, anywhere you can and anytime you need to.”
The parade postponement comes on the heels of several other Austin event cancellations amid the surge in area delta variant cases. This week, ACL Radio also postponed its final two Blues on the Green events, and headliner Stevie Nicks announced she’s canceling her appearance at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October.
As more unfolds, Austin Pride urges the community, “Please, #getvaccinated, #maskup, #socialdistance until we get this in check again. The virus may have won another battle, but it will not win this war.”
Austin Pride promises more details when they become available.