“We’re loud, proud and East of the Perimeter.” That’s the motto of East Side Pride, which hosts its second annual Pride picnic on June 25 at Clarkston’s Milam Park.
East Side Pride is open to everyone, but focuses on communities east of Atlanta including Avondale Estates, Clarkston, Dial Heights, Dunaire, Pine Lake, Scottdale, Smoke Rise, Stone Mountain and Tucker.
First organized by Lorrie King, wife of Clarkston City Councilmember Adam White, East Side Pride has grown over the last year to encompass more volunteers and offer additional events, including group meals and service projects.
“Last year, with the overwhelming response we got, there was just a great sense of satisfaction that this is what Clarkston is about, and I was so proud,” King said. “So many people said thank you, that we needed this all along, and I knew I wanted to keep it going.”
King credits her “right hand men” Joe Bentley and Tony Nastri, as well as Trilogy Bookstore owners Val and Sean Tonkin, with stepping up to help the fledgling organization grow. The Tonkins have offered office space to East Side Pride at Trilogy Books in Avondale Estates, and the group’s new youth outreach — Generation Q — just started meeting there, King said.
Last year’s first-ever East Side Pride drew a diverse crowd for an afternoon of cooking out, dancing, lawn games and playing on the playground. 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.
This year, the East Side Pride picnic will again feature DJ Duck and a potluck meal, with attendees invited to bring an item to grill and a side dish to share. Due to the heat and Stonewall events going on the same day in Atlanta, this year’s event was moved to later in the day, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“It’s a very family-friendly space with plenty for the kids to do, and we are inviting organizations to offer information, artisans to [bring their wares] — anyone who wants to join us,” King said.
“It’s exciting to have people come out and be part of the community, and to see this movement growing on the east side is really gratifying and a sign of progress,” she said.
Top photo: East Side Pride returns to Clarkston’s Milam Park, where last year’s celebration drew more than 100 attendees. (by Becky Rentz)