As September comes to a close, Atlanta anticipates the return of our annual Pride festival and parade. While the festival comes to the beautiful Piedmont Park on October 14 and 15, there’s plenty happening before the festivities to get you ready for the big weekend.
Before Pride is here, support Atlanta Pride Committee (APC) by drinking beer! Head over to My Sister’s Room on September 23 at 8pm for the Atlanta Pride Beer Bust. Ten dollars gets you all-you-can-drink Bud Light Draft — 100 percent of the proceeds will go to APC.
A week before Pride, compete for the title of Mr., Miss, or Mx. Atlanta Pride at the Pride pageant! Contestants will compete in categories for presentation, evening wear, and talent at Future Atlanta, and the winners will receive $500 and a vehicle in the parade! Registration is $50 and begins at 7pm before the show begins at 8. Visit future-atlanta.com for more information.
Then, get ready for Pride weekend on Friday, October 13 with the official kickoff party at the Georgia Aquarium! Celebrate the start of Pride with friends, music, and aquarium views. Guests will experience a variety of music from three different DJs scattered throughout the Aquarium. Hollywood superstar DJ Dawna Montell from Los Angeles will headline the event with support from circuit icon DJ David Knapp and the return of the Deep South secret spot featuring DJ Brian Rojas. The upgraded lounge tickets are sold out, but attendees can still buy general admission tickets, which include two drink tickets valid for cocktails, beer, wine, or sodas. The party kicks off at 7pm. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at georgiaaquarium.org/events/event/pride-kickoff.
That evening, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta in partnership with SOJOURN will also be hosting an Atlanta Pride Shabbat at 6:30pm at the Dock at Piedmont Park. This event is free for anyone to join.
The following day, the Pride festivities officially begin! Head to Piedmont Park on Saturday to experience all 205 vendor booths — including one for the Georgia Voice! — and two stages of entertainment. This year’s entertainment lineup includes Icona Pop, Saucy Santana, G Flip, Angie K, Ashlee Keating, Chrissy Chlapeka, DJ Babey Drew, Emma Ogier, Erica Mason, The Gurls, Nachlanta, Out Front Theatre Company, Rico Marcel, the Shooting Star Cabaret, Siena Liggins, Tkay Maidza, and the Voices of Note chorus on Saturday, and the Candybox Revue, Debby Holiday, DJ MikeQ, Michel Jons Band, and Sweet Tea: A Queer Variety Show on Sunday. The Starlight Cabaret, the largest outdoor drag show in the country, will close out the weekend on Sunday. The entertainment will kick off on Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz USA Stage at noon and on the Coca-Cola Mainstage at 2.
On Saturday there will be three marches before the main parade on Sunday. The annual trans march will meet at 1:15pm at the Charles Allen Gate before stepping off at 1:45. The annual bi and pan march will meet at 3 before stepping off at 3:30, and the annual dyke march will meet at 4:30 before stepping off at 5.
There will also be a special group wedding ceremony held in the park on Saturday. Couples will be able to say “I Do” for free at the Marry Who You Love ceremony, presented by the Fulton County Probate Court, complete with wedding decorations provided by Marry We Events, a photographer, and more — and couples will be able to purchase wedding day Pride VIP passes at a discounted rate! Couples must register and obtain a Fulton County marriage license; spaces are limited, so register now at marrywhoyoulove.rsvpify.com.
The festival will come to a close with the annual Pride parade, which will draw over 100,000 people to the streets of Atlanta at noon on Sunday. Along with the winners of the Pride Pageant, you will be able to see the staff of the Georgia Voice driving in the parade along with other Grand Marshals Danielle Bonanno, Aubri Escalera, All-1-Family, Jim Farmer, Sergio Mendez, Voices of Note, Jon Santos, Jennifer Slipakoff, and Toni-Michelle Williams.
While Atlanta Pride promises to be a fun-filled weekend, it will also serve as a reminder for all the work that remains to protect the LGBTQ community. In honor of the history and activism of Atlanta Pride, this year’s theme will be “Show Up and Show Out” to remind people to stand up for the full spectrum of the LGBTQ community.
“I think Pride is important every year, and it’s especially critical this year,” APC Executive Director Chris McCain said in an interview with Atlanta News First. “I think it’s really important that we remember that Pride is about resistance and about working towards justice and equal rights for all people, especially the queer community.”
For more information on Atlanta Pride, visit atlantapride.org.
Katie Burkholder is the Atlanta-based editor of Georgia Voice.