Even though the mayor of Valdosta refused to sign a proclamation naming Sept. 15 as South Georgia Pride Day, more than 1,000 people celebrated last Saturday in John W. Saunders Park.
“I was disappointed in him, but it gave us some really good press,” said Raynae Williams, assistant executive director of South Georgia Pride. “It lit a fire and brought people out in droves.”
Mayor John Gayle told a local TV station in June that he refused to sign the proclamation because of his religious convictions even though his predecessor signed it last year.
The festival more than doubled the number of attendees from 2011, notably attracting more straight allies this year, said Williams, who added that South Georgia Pride is important for building community in the Valdosta area.