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|Upcoming fests celebrate LGBT life in Athens, Savannah, Valdosta and Columbus|
|by Laura Douglas-Brown|
|August 31, 2012 00:00|
June might be National LGBT Pride Month, but fall is when Pride season really heats up in Georgia. In addition to Black Gay Pride in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend, four areas around the state host Pride events in September, followed by the massive Atlanta Pride in October.
The second annual Athens Pride Weekend, set for Sept. 6-9, features several events rather than one large festival. It launches Sept. 6 with the 18th annual GLOBES reception at the University of Georgia and an after-party, and concludes Sunday, Sept. 9, with a Pride church service at Our Hope MCC, a commitment ceremony, a Pride picnic at Lake Herrick Pavilion at UGA, and a cabaret.
The same weekend, Savannah Pride pulls out all the stops for the city’s 13th annual Pride Fest, planned for noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, in Forsyth Park.
The festival’s headliner is pop / R&B singer JoJo; other entertainers include The Cusses, Atlanta’s fave trans rocker Amber Taylor and the Sexual Side Effects, She N She, and more. Other highlights include more than 50 vendors and a children’s area.
“Savannah Pride has reached a new level of entertainment this year. We started 2012 wanting to focus on giving back to the community, this is just one way we feel we’re able to do that,” Savannah Pride President Chris Brown writes in a recent blog for Visit Savannah (blog.savannahvisit.com).
“This year alone Savannah Pride has given thousands of dollars worth of donations and support to several different charities including Safe Shelter, and the domestic violence shelter in Savannah,” Brown says.
Savannah Pride charges an admission fee of $5 before 5 p.m. or $7 after. Related events include the Miss Savannah Pride Pageant on Thursday, Sept. 6, at Club One; the White Party at Brockington Hall on Friday night; and Sunday’s Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at Club One.
Regional celebrations in South and Central Ga.
The crowds won’t be as large, but the community spirit will be just as strong the next weekend as South Georgia Pride comes to Valdosta. The day-long event takes place Sept. 15 from noon until 7 p.m. at John W. Saunders Park, with organizers expecting about 800 attendees.
South Georgia Pride brings headlining performances by folk singer Julie Schurr and hip-hop performer Young Kaii, plus other entertainers, food, games and more.
The festival will remain decidedly family-friendly, organizers say.
“We at South Georgia Pride feel that in order to inflict positive change, it is crucial that we put emphasis on the moral structures of love, tolerance, and family that truly embody the LGBT community of Valdosta,” says Pride Executive Director Richard Willis.
Despite Mayor John Gayle’s refusal to grant a proclamation for South Georgia Pride, leaders said they think support for the LGBT community is growing in Valdosta.
“I think that with every year by hosting this event we are making a difference,” says Assistant Executive Director Raynae Williams. “That it is giving Valdosta an opportunity to get to know us as ‘people’ and not as a weird ‘lifestyle.’”
September concludes with another regional Pride — Chattahoochee Valley Pride on Sept. 28 at Flat Rock Park in Columbus, Ga.
The goal of organizers, according to the Chattahoochee Valley Pride website, is to “look beyond race or culture and provide the tools needed to elevate the LBGT community to a socially accepted status, a status that will encourage ‘society’ as a whole to look beyond our sexual orientation and view us as we should be as human beings, first and foremost.”
Top photo: Savannah Pride, the state’s second longest-running LGBT festival, will bring throngs to Forsyth Park on Sept. 8. (by Chris Seely)
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