The first-ever East Side Pride drew a diverse crowd to Clarkston’s Milam Park on June 26 for an afternoon of cooking out, dancing, lawn games and playing on the playground — all while building community for LGBT people who live east of Atlanta.
“I think this year’s picnic was a great launching point,” said Lorrie King, organizer of East Side Pride with her husband, Clarkston City Councilmember Adam White.
King estimated that as many as 125 people dropped in over the course of the afternoon, including several who said they had to see with their own eyes a Pride event in the eastern suburb.
“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,” King recalled.
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,” 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” 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.”
For photos from East Side Pride, please click here.