Balloon display on a Comfort Inn hotel overlooking Oslo Pridefest. Photo by Stacie Chandler

Oslo’s bright colors reflect Pride

By Jenna Herrick

Oslo PrideFest crowd, June 27, 2018. Photo by Jenna Herrick
Enthusiastic participants at Oslo Pride on June 27, 2018. Photo by Jenna Herrick

Cities all over the world spend the month of June celebrating the LGBTQ community and Oslo is showing its Pride this week.

According to the Visit Norway website, Oslo’s first gay pride celebration – called “Gay Days” – was held in 1982; the name was changed to Oslo Pride in 2014. The Oslo Pride website boasts that its event is the largest pride celebration in Norway and says its goal is  “to make gay culture visible and contribute to increased acceptance and respect for the gay part of the capital’s diverse population.”

The festivities, which run from June 21 to July 1, feature dozens of events, including concerts, lectures, debates, art shows, parties and the parade. Individual event venues are scattered throughout Oslo and are anchored by Pride House, the event headquarters at Youngstorget, and Pride Park, known the rest of the year as Studenterlunden Park.

Pride participant Karine Jager talked about the event’s importance for her. “Just within the few years that I’ve been coming to Pride, it’s gotten so much bigger. I think that shows that the word is getting out that this is a place where you can be yourself and everyone is accepted for who they are.”

The iconic Pride rainbow can be seen everywhere in Oslo from restaurants and hotels sporting pride flags, banners or balloons to retail shops selling rainbow-themed merchandise to a local microbewery’s specially-crafted glitter beer. Pedestrians and passers-by wear tee shirts with Pride slogans, brightly-colored hair, and rainbow everything.