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Preview: Rochester Black Pride Festival 2018



Rochester's Black Pride Festival returns for its third official year with a five-day stretch of events and parties kicking off on Wednesday, August. 8. Most events are free to attend unless specified. And though the festival centers specifically on creating a safe space for black and brown, queer and trans folks to revel and collaborate, everyone is welcome. Read on for some of Black Pride 2018's highlights, and learn more at

Opening night on Wednesday, August 8, will feature a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Avenue Blackbox Theatre (780 Joseph Avenue), featuring the premiere of the short silent film "Beyond Truth." It's a black queer love story by Wilson Prior High School graduate London Knight, created with his mentor, Black Pride festival organizer Adrian Elim. Admission is $7, all ages.

On Thursday, August 9, a free, all ages Club Mocha Youth Day Party will be held at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Square Park (353 Court Street) from 4 to 7 p.m. The party includes music, prizes, refreshments, games, and a discussions lounge. From 7 to 11 p.m. the festival's annual Cocktails & Conversations event will be held at Bar Bantam (Chase Tower, Downtown Rochester). The 21+ happy hour provides a space for the black and queer community discuss issues it faces, and will include spoken word, singers, movement performers, and artists across generations, plus drink specials and giveaways. Admission is $5.

The annual Mocha Workshops are scheduled for Friday, August 10, from noon to 4 p.m. at The Mocha Center (189 North Water Street, Suite 1). The interactive and educational sessions are free and open to all ages. Also on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. is the second annual Black Trans* Brunch, held at East Avenue Inn & Suites (384 East Avenue). The brunch is a social event for building new friendships and celebrating community members who will be recognized during an awards ceremony. Free admission; open to all ages.

On Friday evening there's The Get Down: Old School Party, a free, 21+ dance party held from 8 p.m. to midnight (location TBA) that celebrates the community's elders while everyone boogies to hits from the 60s through the 90s. And the annual Vogue Rochester party will be held from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at E|R Studios (470 State Street). The 18+ party is a tribute to the Ballroom Scene and includes a competition, DJs, musical performances, and special guests. Tickets are $15.

The Black Pride Festival itself takes place on Saturday, August 11, from 2 to 7 p.m. at Edgerton Park (41 Backus Street). It's family-friendly, with youth-focuses activities, food and games, performances, community organizers, and voter registration. Admission is free.

On Saturday night the Summer Nights series returns, with an event starring Miami-based rapper Trina "The Baddest Chick" at Funk and Waffles (204 North Water Street). Doors open at 9 p.m. and the party goes til 2 a.m. Tickets run $30 to $60; the show is 18+.

The festival's final day, Sunday, August 12, features the annual Cookout at Durand Eastman Park at the sunset shelter right on the beach (570 Lakeshore Boulevard). The free, all-ages event features food, games, performers, and more.

Learn how to volunteer at the festival at, or donate at or$rocblackpride. Proceeds go toward making the events as accessible as possible.