We recently had the opportunity to check out the Saxony region of Germany for the first time during CSD Dresden, or Christopher Street Day. This was our first 2014 gay pride event where we got to continue promoting the #mygaypride campaign during our summer of pride and we had a great time doing it!
So, how does Dresden Pride measure up?
Dresden is the capital city of the Saxony region in eastern Germany which borders the Czech Republic and Poland. With a population of just over 500,000, the city barely misses being in the top ten of Germany’s largest cities. Situated in an ideal location along the Elbe River and surrounded by mountains and forests, Dresden is a beautiful German destination and also proves itself to be quite gay-friendly, even if it seems to lack a large, visible gay scene.
Being a smaller city in general, it’s no surprise that CSD Dresden doesn’t offer a packed literary. However, it does a great job focusing on its main gay pride events and executing them well which is no surprise – it is Germany after all! There’s a 3-day street festival that takes place over the weekend that goes all day until midnight Friday and Saturday. It’s held at the Altmarkt, or Old Market Square, one of the main squares in Dresden. There’s great food, decent music, and drinks to be enjoyed. Overall the atmosphere is fairly calm. The official pride party took place Saturday night at a club called GAYLAKTIKA with ticket prices around €22. On Sunday, there’s free a mid-morning brunch with musical entertainment and an appearance by the mayor.
The parade is actually a demonstration which meant no floats – just one truck of people to lead the way and another one to bring up the back. Between them, however, were the participants walking in the procession, all of them energetic, some dressed up and others in everyday clothes and almost everyone enjoying a drink. In a sense, it was halfway between an activist march and a parade celebration – not quite fully one or the other. The route is quite long and not many people turned out to observe, but those that did were mostly along the waterfront and happily cheered people on.
Not surprisingly, CSD Dresden doesn’t attract many tourists. Most of the people were locals and visitors from other parts of Germany. The crowd, however, was surprisingly diverse. There seemed to be a well balanced ratio of gay men, lesbians and straights than most larger prides normally procure. The age range stretched across the spectrum as well from babies and toddlers to the middle-aged and elderly and everyone in between attending. Overall, there was a turnout of about 7,000 people give or take.
The events are quite affordable. The street festival is free and drinks were about €1.50 for shots and €3 for beers. Food is reasonably priced as well. There’s also the free brunch on Sunday morning at Altmarkt.
What makes it unique?
The overall feel of Dresden Gay Pride is more of a local, small town sense, though friendly and welcoming because of it. It’s easy to chat to the person next to you as people are quite open and nice. It’s very family-friendly and community oriented. One of the most unique things that makes it stand out from other pride celebrations is its Rainbow Brunch on Sunday. Though a seemingly unimportant event on the timeline, it provides a homely atmosphere as people sit around tables together breaking bread.
Dresden Gay Scene
It’s hard to judge a city’s gay scene during a weekend that invites an influx of the LGBT community. However, we did see a couple gay bars in Dresden, Boys Bar and Queens & Kings. Both seemed decent, but neither amazing in their own right.
The first gay pride in Germany was a CSD celebration that took place in Berlin in 1978. CSD in Dresden began in 1994, just five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
CSD may not be an event worth traveling to on its own to visit Dresden. However, in combination with a tour of the city and the gorgeous surrounding regions of Saxony, it’s a great idea to plan a holiday in Dresden coinciding with this event.
What kind of pride scene do you like? Big city with crowds or quaint and charming? Let us know in the comments!