Organizers of the second annual Marietta Rainbow Festival are promising a bigger and better Pride celebration this year in an expanded space that will include games, live entertainment, food vendors as well as booths set up for education and information about local organizations. There will also be plenty of space for fun for the kids.
Johnathon Murphy, managing partner of LeBuzz in Marietta and a main organizer of the event slated for July 29-30, says the OTP Pride celebration this year incorporates LeBuzz’s new space in the former space of El Mariachi and the neighboring space of Enigma.
“We went from a 6,000 square space and added 14,000 square feet, so now we have about 20,000 square feet to hold the festival this year,” Murphy said.
This ensures plenty of place to play if it rains or shines, he added.
On tap for entertainment include drag kings, drag queens, live bands as well as this year a specific space for children to play, he said.
“There will be a family fun zone — we will have much more space for teens and children, including video games, even showing ‘Harry Potter’ movies,” Murphy said.
Last year’s event was a great success that attracted roughly 2,500 people, Murphy said.
Marietta and Cobb County still carry the stigma of 1993, when the Cobb County Commission made international headlines with a resolution condemning the “gay lifestyle” as incompatible with community standards.
But much has changed in Cobb over the last 17 years. The gay bar LeBuzz continues to draw a steady crowd, and a gay man, Johnny Sinclair, serves on the Marietta City Council.
There are still in the Atlanta suburb who don’t take kindly to LGBT people, however. Syndicated columnist Dick Yarbrough wrote an anti-gay rant in a recent edition of the Marietta Daily Journal, prompting several gay readers to respond in kind.
Murphy says Yarbrough, however, is welcome to attend the Marietta Pride fest this year.
“We are going to have clowns at the festival and he’s welcome to come — we will have special section even for gay bashing reporters,” he said with a laugh.
Mistress of ceremonies for this year’s event is Destiny Brooks. There will be appearances by LeBuzz favorites including the Divas Cabaret, speakers and perhaps a special guest or two, Murphy said.
“There will be lots of entertainers, more than we had last year and last year we had more than 64 entertainers,” he said.
“I’m getting pretty excited. There will be some surprises for this Pride. And we want to have a presence in Atlanta Pride as well. We want to lead and not follow.”
Organizers expect to donate 40 percent of proceeds from the fest this year to Project Live Love, a nonprofit that is “designed to influence culture through love in action by engaging, networking and mobilizing people who are motivated by love.”
“We’re not about making money. This is about getting everyone together. But we do want to make money for our charity,” he said.
To view photos from last year’s festival, click here.
Marietta Rainbow Festival
Friday, July 29: 5 p.m.-3 a.m.
Saturday, July 30: 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
585 Franklin Road SE
Marietta GA 30067
Top photo: The second annual Marietta Rainbow Festival is a family affair. (by Dyana Bagby)