Born out of Atlanta’s LGBT community’s response to the second anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the Atlanta Pride Festival started as a 125-person march that moved along Peachtree Street to Piedmont Park. 46 years later, the Atlanta Pride Festival is expected to draw supporters, allies and advocates for equality to Midtown Oct. 8-9. Pride consists of several events throughout the weekend culminating with the Pride Parade.
“The Atlanta Pride Festival is the largest gathering in the Southeast and one of the oldest Pride festivals in the U.S.,” said Jamie Green-Ferguson, executive director, Atlanta Pride Committee. “Pride is a huge economic driver for the city of Atlanta, and we’re expecting more than 300,000 people to attend this year.”
Over the years, Atlanta Pride has seen a steady growth in attendees, topping more than 150,000 attendees in 2010 and drawing supporters from all over the country. Atlanta Pride continues to be a success for several reasons – location, weather and time of year. Most Pride celebrations are held in June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Atlanta Pride is unique for hosting in October to coordinate with National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11).
Highlights for this year include an expanded children and family zone, a youth liberation space for 14-25 queer and trans young adults, and Gray Pride presented by AARP for attendees age 50 and older. There are also two additional parades during the weekend – the Trans March and the Dyke March, both taking place Saturday. The Pride Parade kicks off at noon on Sunday, Oct. 9 from the MARTA Civic Center station and travels down Peachtree Street, 10th Street and ends at Piedmont Park.
“Everyone is welcome to Pride. It’s a time to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished and remember all the work we still have left to do,” said Green-Ferguson.