ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The streets of midtown Atlanta and Piedmont Park are set to welcome people back to the Pride parade and festival this weekend after a two-year hiatus.
The pandemic forced organizers to cancel the parade in 2020 and 2021 - which even forced them to celebrate their 50th anniversary virtually.
But this weekend they will be back and in person. And what a celebration it will be.
The theme this year is “We’re Back and Better.”
The Atlanta Pride Committee is Georgia’s oldest nonprofit agency serving the LGBTQ community. They say they are ready to kick off a parade to remember.
“We are prepared for big crowds. The indications that we have are that the crowds will be at least as big as in 2019. Festival, market, parade registrations are all up from 2019...VIP pass sales are up from 2019 and so, we’re ready for a big event and if the weather is great, we expect a huge crowd,” said Jamie Fergerson, Executive Director of the Atlanta Pride Committee.
This is a rain or shine event, so the show will go on. And there are some pretty big names scheduled to perform throughout the weekend.
“We have a fantastic line-up this year, we’re so excited. We have Flo Rida headlining, which is going to be an hour-long dance party. People of all generations love the music. And we have Big Freedia who we’re all so, so excited about. Betty Who who has been an icon in the community for years and years. Jax who’s an up-and-coming TikTok star and is going to be really fantastic. And then we have everyone down to local performers - Exquisite Gender, Moksha - we have something for everyone. We have Brooke Eden who is a fantastic out country star who is really, really good. So, there’s a little something for everyone on the entertainment list,” Fergerson said.
Of course, with every big event, keeping everyone safe is key.
“Security is top of mind every single year. We use a multi-layered security plan with volunteers, with private professional security, and then working with law enforcement and state and local agencies to make sure everything is safe and secure,” said Fergerson.
The dramatic and colorful floats are always a crowd pleaser, but Jamie says, don’t get too close.
“I think the most important things are to come prepared to take care of yourself and others. Hydrate, take sunscreen, wear good comfortable walking shoes, if you see something dangerous, get some help,” Fergerson explained. “On the parade route, we always need people to stay on the sidewalks. One of the biggest challenges we have is that people push up to the barricades and through the barricades and we need you to stay behind them so the parade can process down the street. I am expecting organizations and a lot more big floats, some really interesting different types of vehicles in the parade, some things you may not have ever seen. But I’m expecting things to be really joyful this year, bright, and to really celebrate that we have made it through these last few years and that we’re really joyful and excited to be back together - so I think joy is going to be a big thing.”
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