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Augusta Pride draws diverse crowd of thousands

The fourth annual Augusta Pride took over the Augusta Commons with a new dance party June 21, then the now traditional parade and festival June 22.

Bob Molle and Dennis Hage, partners for 36 years, traveled to Augusta from upstate New York to enjoy the festival with friends while celebrating Hage’s 75th birthday.

“There seems to be so much love,” Molle said. “It’s a little loud, just because we are old, but everyone is getting along as brothers and sisters.

“There are also a lot of children here, and that’s nice, because when we first came out you couldn’t have kids without people looking at you,” he added.

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Augusta Pride returns for fourth year

Frenchie Davis

Augusta Pride expands this year to two days, offering an outdoor dance party the night before the fourth annual festival packs the Augusta Commons.

“Beats on Broad” debuts on Friday evening, June 21, as DJ Kaos from Club One, the popular gay nightclub in Savannah, spins from 6-11 p.m. in what organizers bill as “Augusta’s largest outdoor dance party.” Cover is $5, and some festival vendors will already be set up and open for business.

The next morning, Saturday, June 22, the Augusta Pride parade steps off at 10 a.m. to head down Broad Street to the Augusta Commons. The annual procession of decorated golf carts, trucks, floats and marchers draws crowds of cheering fans and usually a handful of anti-gay protesters.

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Photos: Augusta Pride festival

2010 Augusta Pride parade

The Georgia Voice was on-hand at the inaugural Augusta Pride festival June 19. Several thousand people attended the event while American Idol contestant Frenchie Davis and Grammy Award winner Thelma Houston performed for the crowd.

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Augusta Pride draws thousands for historic festival

Grammy winner Thelma Houston closed out the stage for Augusta Pride this evening, but there was one more inspiring moment awaiting the hundreds who withstood the withering heat to be there for the festival's finale.