Just Toby

Just Toby: Out-of-towners’ guide to Atlanta Pride

It’s that time of year again where I get to see the community that has embraced me for the last four years come together and celebrate diversity, equality and love. For me it’s one of the busiest weekends of the year, but it is also one of my favorite weekends.

Since I moved here, I have been working hard to be part of our LGBT+ community and make my own mark, either through photographs, events, fundraiser, drag or just by networking. During Pride, I get to be part of many events that I enjoy and in a blink of an eye the weekend is gone and sometimes I’ve asked myself, “Where did the Pride weekend go?”

There are a quite a few things that I am definitely excited to be part of this year! If you’re new in town, visiting or just one of the locals, by now you have heard about the Official Atlanta Pride Kickoff hosted by the Georgia Aquarium. This is by far my favorite event of the year; the whole Aquarium becomes a party of your closest 4,000 friends. It’s the one time a year I see most of my friends from all around the country in one space. The energy is indescribable, the people behind this party make sure that everything runs perfectly and the ambiance is set for you to have an amazing weekend.

The greatest thing for me about this event is that you never know who you will see in the crowd, from business executives, politicians, artists, your favorite local drag queen/king or even a queen from “RuPaul’s Drag Race!” This party is made for everyone to enjoy, so just make sure you were able to get a ticket before it sells out because it’s always a sold out event.

Once the party is over at the Aquarium, your choices to keep on celebrating are really endless throughout the weekend! It is almost like the city has multiple heartbeats around town during Pride. The atmosphere that you’re searching for will determine which area of town you will want to go to.

Most people tend to go to the heart of our gay district which is 10th & Piedmont in Midtown Atlanta, where your choices are quite vast, from Blake’s on the Park, Ten, Bulldogs or Joe’s on Juniper. If Midtown is not your scene, the Ansley Mall area might interest you with bars like the Hideaway, Felix’s, Oscar’s or Burkhart’s where you could enjoy the performances of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants Phoenix and Aja all within walking distance. In my case, I will end up going to the Cheshire Bridge Road area, where you can find me taking your pictures at the Heretic.

When the desire arises, I’ll walk over to Jungle to listen to their beats or to see some of my favorite drag queens from The Other Show, or I might pop into an Uber and head to the Atlanta Eagle. The possibilities are endless. The best thing to do is plan accordingly so that you may experience all these fine establishments in one weekend!

Sunday is by far my other favorite day. Just like the Aquarium Party, thousands of people gather to watch the Atlanta Pride parade and then head over to the park to enjoy all the festivities that the Atlanta Pride Committee has planned all throughout the year, and finish off with the legendary Starlight Cabaret Show. If this is your first Pride or you’re just enjoying another Atlanta Pride, one big piece of advice is to stay hydrated because Atlanta Pride is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.