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The next three weekends bloom with spring festivals sure to draw LGBT crowds. This weekend pick from Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park, a full day of LGBT writers organized by the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival, or Sandy Springs Artsaplooza, organized by the gay-led Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces.
Next weekend, stay home for Atlanta's most eclectic neighborhood festival, or hit the road to North Georgia for Women's Musicfest or to Unadilla, Ga., for Bearapalooza. Then pack your suitcase again May 3-5 for Gay Days at Tybee Island, a chance to experience an LGBT beach weekend at the vacation haven near Savannah.
That pollen coating all of Atlanta is a definite signifier of Spring, but be sure to clear a way through the sneezy stuff and head to Piedmont Park for the official rite of Spring in the city as the 76th annual Dogwood Fest promises art, music and funnel cakes.
And, because it's held at Piedmont Park, there is an automatic gay angle for this story. Also, Jamie Ensley, who is openly gay, serves as chair on the Dogwood Festival board of directors.
June is national LGBT Pride Month — President Obama even issued a proclamation for it on June 1. So why does Atlanta celebrate Stonewall Week this month instead?
Pride festivals are traditionally held the last weekend in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, fought back against police harassment in what is widely seen as a turning point for gay rights.
But after being celebrated the last weekend in June in Piedmont Park for most of its history, Atlanta Pride was forced to move in 2008 when city officials booted large festivals from the parched park due to a record drought.
Held over July Fourth weekend at the Civic Center the next year, Pride attendance and finances suffered. The festival moved back to Piedmont Park for 2009, but over Halloween, to get around city policies that limited festivals in the summer season due to drought concerns.