Festival, parade mark LGBT Pride 2012 in Atlanta

Festival, parade mark LGBT Pride 2012 in Atlanta

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Unfurling a symbol of pride: Marchers in Pride 2011 carry a massive rainbow flag through Midtown Atlanta. Credit: Henry Etsitty

Event preview

For more information about Atlanta Pride events, including those before the festival weekend, go to atlantapride.org.

Over the past few weeks, Atlanta has played host to a series of presentations leading up to the kickoff of the city’s 42nd annual Pride Festival, which celebrates the culture of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Although events are continuing the night of Oct. 12 (parties at the Georgia Aquarium and the Jungle Club), the celebration doesn’t officially begin until Oct. 13 in Piedmont Park with a massive fair and live musical performances. The action continues Oct. 14, with still more at Piedmont and the much touted Pride Parade.

Glen Paul Freedman, board chair of the Atlanta Pride Committee, said there’s something here for everyone, regardless of your sexual orientation.

“It’s fun. It’s fun for families and fun for anybody who wants to take part,” Freedman said. “Everybody is welcome.

“The parade always attracts a lot of people and a lot of attention,” Freedman continued. “You can march in the parade with groups like PFLAG and others, or you can watch from the sidewalks. The point is to see who we are, get to know us and learn it’s OK to be LGBT and out.”

According to Freedman, the Pride Parade will boast more than 200 entries, among them floats, cars, walking contingents and live music. Assembly begins at 10:30 a.m. on the streets near the Civic Center MARTA Station, and step-off is at 1 p.m. From there, the route traverses Ralph McGill Boulevard to Peachtree Street north. As in many years past, it turns east onto 10th Street and continues to the Charles Allen Gate entrance of Piedmont Park.

Throughout the weekend, attendees can enjoy the park fair, a health expo and a cultural and historic exhibit. Musical performers include R&B artist Crystal Waters, dance music diva Kristine W, Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, and Andy Bell of Erasure. Other notables include Rita Orr, Gurufish, Justin Utley and the Maria Gabriella Band.

A bonus for the city that comes amid an economic downturn is the projected financial windfall.

“People come from all over the South to attend Atlanta Pride,” Freedman said. “Hotels are sold out, restaurants will be swamped, and we expect over $35 million in tax revenue.”

Events

  • Friday, Oct. 12

 

Atlanta Pride VIP Sponsor Party

Hobnob with the bigwigs at this upscale event, which includes appearances by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Stuart Milk, nephew of gay rights icon Harvey Milk; and British professional rugby champion Ben Cohen. Milk and Cohen are among the honorary grand marshals of the Pride Parade. 6-8 p.m. Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St. N.W.

Official Atlanta Pride Kickoff Party

General public party includes DJs Corey Craig and Vicki Powell. 7-11:30 p.m. Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St. N.W.

Official Atlanta Pride Kickoff After-Party

Third annual dance party features music by D.C. DJ Ed Bailey. 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Jungle Club Atlanta, 2115 Faulkner Road.

  • Saturday, Oct. 13

 

YoGaga

Presented by Lululemon Athletica and Touch Love Yoga, participants are encouraged to wear Lady Gaga-inspired costumes for a fun workout to start the weekend off. 10 a.m.-noon. Piedmont Park.

Children’s Show

This all-ages event features children’s entertainers and an opportunity for LGBT parents to network. 10:15-11:30 a.m. Piedmont Park Pavilion, Bud Light Stage.

Atlanta Pride Car and Motorcycle Show

Vintage car and motorcycle show presented by Lambda Car Club and Lost Boys Motorcycle Club. 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Piedmont Park inner roadway between 12th Street and 14th Street gates.

Atlanta Pride Literary Showcase

Book signings and readings by local authors. Noon-2 p.m. Bud Light Stage, Piedmont Park Pavilion.

Trans March

March celebrating the transgender community. Assembly at 1:15 p.m., step-off at 1:45 p.m. Piedmont Park, Hospitality Center near 12th Street gate.

Dyke March

March open to all women loving women (trans-inclusive) of any race, culture, orientation, ability, health, socioeconomic level, family structure, faith or age. Registration not required. Assembly at 5:30 p.m., step-off at 6 p.m. Piedmont Park, Charles Allen gate.

Official Atlanta Pride Women’s Peach Dance Party

Dance party presented by Curve Personals and Pandora Events with DJ Pat Pat. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Center Stage/the Loft, 1374 W. Peachtree St.

Kiki by the Park

Fundraiser for the Atlanta Pride Committee and the Ben Cohen Standup Foundation. 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. W Midtown Atlanta Hotel, 188 14th St. N.E.

  • Sunday, Oct. 14

 

Annual Atlanta Pride Parade

Billed as the largest parade in the city of Atlanta, it includes floats, cars, celebrities and more. 1 p.m. Civic Center MARTA Station to Piedmont Park.

The Starlight Cabaret

Entertainment presentation featuring popular drag entertainers. 7-9 p.m. Coca-Cola Stage, Piedmont Park.

Official Atlanta Pride Closing Party

Upscale dance party closing out Pride weekend with NYC DJs Hector Fonseca and Theresa. 8 p.m.-3 a.m. Opera Nightclub, 1150 Peachtree St. N.E.

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