Congressman John Lewis (D-Atlanta) is also scheduled to attend the VIP party, which takes place in the aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom. Pride’s official, general admission kick-off party follows in the main aquarium.

Reed also honored Atlanta Pride at a rooftop reception at City Hall on Monday. Addressing the crowd of community leaders and Pride organizers, Reed said he has worked to build an inclusive administration that includes openly gay people in top leadership positions; to improve the Atlanta Police Department’s relationship with LGBT constituents; and to make sure that the Atlanta Pride Committee had a flawless process working with the city on this year’s event.

“I am ready to get my pride on,” Reed laughed, noting that he plans to attend the parade and other events throughout the weekend.

“Please leave here today knowing that you are welcome in the city of Atlanta and we want you to have an extraordinary time,” Reed said.

According to the city’s website, the Phoenix Award is presented for these reasons: Retirements, Honorary Citizenship (Foreign Dignitaries, prominent individuals, entertainers, or artists), Appreciation (Outstanding contributions to the City and citizens of Atlanta including monetary, in-kind donations, cultural contributions or volunteer efforts), Heroism, Significant Birthdays (75 and higher) and Significant Marriage Anniversaries (50 and higher).

This weekend’s festival marks 40 years for Atlanta Pride, which Reed has praised for having a significant impact on making the culture of Atlanta more inclusive and diverse.

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