“When we were setting up, we had two neighbors wander over and say they were coming to see if it was true — Pride in Clarkston. They had heard about it from a friend, who said they had seen our poster in a Starbucks in Tucker. One of them got in the car and drove over to the Starbucks, because he called his friend a liar,” King recalled. “That happened about three times — people coming just to see if it was true.”
The family-friendly afternoon included a potluck picnic, games, a raffle, and music from DJ Duck, who had Pride attendees dancing in the shade of the pavilion while a rainbow flag waved from the rafters.
“We had such a mix of people: LGBT community, advocates, extended families. Other groups having events in the park came over to say hi, their kids came over to dance, and one group asked our DJ to turn one of the speakers toward their pavilion, so they could enjoy the music, too,” King said.
Several Clarkston political leaders joined in the festivities, including Vice-Mayor Emmanuel Ransom; Amy Ormes-Tygrett, wife of Clarkston Mayor Howard Tygrett; and Council members Dean Moore and Dianne Leonetti.
Saturday’s festival is only the start for East Side Pride, King said. They plan a bingo night, holiday party and the second annual East Side Pride next year. The group is publicizing its events through Twitter (EastSidePrideGA) and Facebook (East Side Pride).
Their goal is to spread the message that “the East Side really does have a thriving LGBT community, who really wants to be engaged” by building on the momentum of the “incredible” first East Side Pride.
“I was witnessing the very essence of community before my eyes, a changing of the old South,” King says. “I was choked up. A mix of colors, ethnicities and backgrounds.”
Top photo: A pavilion in Milam Park plays host to East Side Pride (by Becky Rentz)