Monday, November 2, 2009
Atlanta Pride 09
The Atlanta Pride celebration this past weekend was the 39th such occasion for the city but the first to be held in the fall instead of middle of summer. Piedmont Park was the location, and it was beautiful with the fall colors and cooler temps. The festival also coincided with Halloween, so many people were dressed for that, which is a popular gay diversion anyway.
Hundreds of sponsors and vendors and businesses lined the park streets hawking their wares and services--big names like Delta, Home Depot, State Farm, ComCast, etc., to every gay-affirming church group in Atlanta, law offices, banks, health providers, home improvement, teams and clubs and sports, and "rainbow-ware" of all kinds, from t-shirts to jewelry. It was quite impressive. Then there were lots of food vendors and musical venues, too. Sunday brought the big parade, with Dykes on Bikes, floats, gay support groups, and GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, BiSexual and Trangendered) police officers, firefighters, flight attendants, and much, much more.
I don't know how many people actually attended and/or participated in the events of the weekend, but it had to be in the tens of thousands. I watched most of it from behind the counter of a vendor's tent, the friend of a friend who needed help to sell her stuff. It turned out to be a great location--dry, interesting, and perfect for people-watching. I never so so many different-looking people nor so many happy-looking people in my life. GLBTs come in all ages, sizes, ethnicities, and personalities. And many attendees are supportive friends and family members.
Perhaps most suprising was the number of "seniors" at the events. I did not feel at all "old" in light of the number of folks there as old or older than I. Quite a few women asked if we had an "I love my Grannies" t-shirt for toddlers, as they had both become grandmothers. That should be added to the "I love my mommies/daddies" shirts for next season. In spites of the crowds and the presence of alcohol, everyone was exceedingly courteous, friendly, and respectful (and happy, as I said). The greeting of the event is "Happy Pride," and I heard it a hundred times if I heard it once!