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Know before you go: Atlanta Pride Festival, Oct. 31-Nov. 1

Update 11/2: How did it go? See pictures and share your experiences at the festival here!
GAYPRIDE 2 (Small)

Erica Rosalle and other volunteers carried rainbow flag up Peachtree Street during Pride in 2004. AJC file photo

The Atlanta Pride Festival returns to its home in Piedmont Park this year, but in a new season — Oct. 31-Nov. 1 instead of a weekend in June.

Expect a big crowd — the festival has drawn up to 200,000 in the past, although attendance was down during its brief move out of Piedmont Park during the drought. Given the timing around Halloween, they expect even more than usual to be wearing costumes. There are some special events meant only for adults, but the festival itself is family-friendly and open to all, whether gay, heterosexual, lesbian, trans or otherwise.

If festival regulars have advice for how to better enjoy the weekend, suggestions are always welcome in the comments!

To start, here’s what you need to know before you go:

The Pride Festival itself is free, but there are some special events that require paid admission, and plenty of unofficial events at restaurants, clubs and stores nearby. For the festival itself, you’ll see people who spend all weekend at Piedmont Park, and others that drop by for an hour to see the Festival Market. Before you go, I suggest you check out Atlanta Pride’s list of special events, and this list published in the AJC last week. Here are details on a few of the best-known events:

  • Critical Mass-querade: You won’t find this on a list of official events, but the Critical Mass bike ride this month celebrates Halloween and Pride by asking riders to don costumes. You may want to join in, or simply avoid the roads. 6 p.m. Oct. 30. Free. Starts at Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta.
  • Concerts: There are live shows running throughout the festival. Here’s a full lineup, including Blake Lewis of “American Idol” fame. Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 31, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 1. Free. Stages inside Piedmont Park.
  • Children’s activities: There isn’t a children’s area at the festival, but there are a lot of children running around with their friends and families. There is a children’s show from 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 31. Free. Piedmont Park Pavilion.
  • Commitment Ceremony: There’s a non-denominational commitment ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31, Piedmont Park Pavilion. $25.
  • Parade and marches: Onlookers will start lining up around noon Nov. 1 for the annual Pride Parade. The parade starts at 1 p.m. and runs from Ralph McGill and West Peachtree, down Peachtree, right on 10th Street and into Piedmont Park.  There’s also a Trans March at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 31, and a Dyke March at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 31. Free.

What to bring, what not to bring
All the usual Piedmont Park rules apply during this festival. Don’t bring tents with stakes or anything that must be driven into the ground, glass containers, alcoholic beverages, weapons or pets — no dogs, no snakes — unless it’s a service animal. As of Friday, weather forecasts are getting a little uglier, with some rain likely. Wear a hat and sunscreen. There will be water available throughout the park and at certain events.

How to get there
Wear your walking shoes, because there’s a lot of ground to cover. Here’s a festival map that shows the stages and locations for different activities. Now, to get to the park…

  • By car: As with any event at Piedmont Park, you can take a car, but parking won’t be easy. Expect street closures, especially around from 1-3 p.m. on Nov. 1, spaces blocked in the neighborhoods around the park and high prices for lots and garages nearby.
  • By train: MARTA is always the easier option to get to Piedmont Park during a big event. The nearest stations are Midtown and Arts Center. Here’s a map that gives directions and shows how to walk from the station to the park. Remember that single MARTA fares recently jumped to $2 per ride!
  • By bike: Volunteers from the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will be on hand to valet park bikes during the Pride Parade, which starts at 1 p.m. Sunday. Otherwise, there are bike racks located around the park.

How to stay in touch
Atlanta Pride is on Twitter @atlantapride and on Facebook.

Want to go? Atlanta Pride Festival. Oct. 31-Nov. 1. Free. Piedmont Park, 1071 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 770-491-8633,

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

60 comments Add your comment


November 11th, 2009
7:28 am

I understand your pain, as I have known rejection myself.

Some of what you are doing both to yourself, your partner and your daughter is your choice.

If I saw you by yourself, or with your daughter, I wouldn’t have an issue. It’s when you parade the fact that you are having sex with a woman openly that the issue happens. You are right that it is your business and no one elses what you do with your body.

For someone to point it out or take issue with it when it is in their face is their right as well in a free country.

I am sorry if someone was unkind to you, as that is not Christian, and obviously Jesus wouldn’t do that.

God is loving but He is also holy, and has laid out a plan for our lives, our sexuality, etc. in
His Holy Word that brings about a fulfilled, peaceful life.
He wants the best for your life, and a lifestyle that causes others to stare and wonder when you pass by is not the best plan for your life and never will be, no matter what new laws are passed, etc.

You cannot begin to understand the Holiness of God until you have totally repented of your sins and asked Jesus to come into your heart and save you, and then something starts to happen inside of your heart that changes your entire perspective on . No religion can do that: it is a supernatural experience.
Religion tells you that you just do this or that but nothing changes.Salvation is something that god does inside of you once you repent of your sins and invite Him to do His thing.

You may have experienced some abuse in your early life, or alienation from your Mom/other women,which you may still need counseling for to break the chains off.
Living Waters is a good program, which many churches are offering now. People will love on you and pray for you as you wish until God breaks the chains off. I did it for 9 months and it was one of the best things I ever did in my life.
Take care.


November 10th, 2009
9:26 pm

To those who don’t understand the concept of Gay Pride or why we come together, here is my spin on it.

I am a lesbian. I have a partner. We have a daughter. We have to worry about people’s reactions while walking on the street with our 8 year old. We were once asked if we believe in God while walking down the center of town, hand in hand, with our daughter in between us. See, my partner’s short hair she has from time to time gives her away as being “one of those.” For the record, yes, we do believe in God, attend church, pray before each meal and before bed with the little one. And if you didn’t already know we existed, I am not only a lesbian but a conservative AND a Catholic!

Basically what I’m trying to say is that Pride for us means we don’t have to be on guard and ready with an explanation for our daughter as to why that person said that to us or why they keep looking and pointing at us.

Going to Pride events not only lets us, as parents, relax since we are surrounded by “family” but also allows our daughter the luxury of meeting other kids with two moms or two dads.

We have a “safe zone” once a year and for that, I am proud.


November 7th, 2009
8:34 pm

agree: they see the “hate” needle in our eye because their is a “hate” log in their own eye.

They are the ones who will be the first to curse everyone out, call names, and then say we are hateful?

No ONE I hang out with would do that!

Agree with Brad

November 7th, 2009
10:39 am

I strongly believe everyone should be able to live how they choose to. That said, societal decency is important. A man walking another nearly-naked man on a leash is NOT decent. I don’t see why so many simply desire to shock the community.

Further, people crying about hatred while simultaneously calling conservatives nutjob bigots really need to take a second for self-evaluation.


November 2nd, 2009
12:10 pm

maybe it should be straight pride day to celebrate how far they have evolved


November 2nd, 2009
11:51 am

we are proud to be ourselves out of the closet to everyone in the community. we are proud of our family’s, to live the lives they want to live, with out being afraid of all the people who will mock them, who will criticize them, who will tell them they are going to hell, saying we dont deserve equal rights, who tell us we should be ashame and stay in the closet or change or whatever, we are proud because will will all band together hold hands,hug,kiss,cry,and cheer, and tell the world we are here and we are proud to be who we are!!!!!


November 2nd, 2009
10:13 am

It’s pride as opposed to shame and fear….


November 2nd, 2009
7:51 am

Pride = hundreds of thousands of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered, and their straight friends and family COMING TOGETHER to have fun. Shame on us for that, huh?!

To the few uptight Fox Noise yahoos and closet queens who “can’t fathom it”: STAY AWAY and STFU. See how easy that is?

Shame on AJC and the rest of the media for NOT covering this fantastic event that truly was all about at one segment of Atlanta that is truly “too busy to hate”…

[...] Know before you go: Atlanta Pride Festival, Oct. 31-Nov. 1 … October 28th, 2009 | Author: admin The Atlanta Pride Festival returns to its home in Piedmont Park this year, but in a new season — Oct. 31-Nov. 1 instead of a weekend in June. Go here to read the rest: Know before you go: Atlanta Pride Festival, Oct. 31-Nov. 1 … [...]


November 1st, 2009
11:18 pm

I wish my son were still alive to see this. He chose to die instead of fight with his family and friends.