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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:

Events
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, Atlantapride.org.

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

60 comments Add your comment

Pamm

November 1st, 2009
10:49 pm

Ha any one moticed that this is the ONLY place where the AJC has seen fit to cover anything about Pride. No pictures, no reports nothing. They always find space to cover Frolicon and other events but not Pride.

For all of the professions by the AJC that they are fair minded, they sure seem a tad homophobic to me.

Me

November 1st, 2009
8:41 pm

Some of these comments make me sick. I am 90 percent straight but I enjoy going to pride every year. I don’t think twice about going or taking my daughter or grandson to any of the feastivities. The more they are exposed to the real world, the better person they will be.

Go to an all white event or an all black event one you have one thing in common. Someone is going to fight. Go to pride and everyone just wants to just get along. We all just want to relax and have a good time and enjoy the company of friends.

Peadawg

November 1st, 2009
8:15 pm

Kinda reminds me of Stewart on MAD TV: “Hey look what I can do”

Les Bouska

November 1st, 2009
6:40 pm

Pride was a blast. There was a huge turnout for the parade and all the events in the park.
God blessed us with a beautiful day. It was really nice to be back in the park this year.
Looking forward to next years Pride Events already. Thanks Pride Committee , job well done.

Jill

November 1st, 2009
5:08 pm

If we had equal rights ,marriage, beneifts, e.t.c.. we would not have to march.

Anna Banguilan

November 1st, 2009
12:39 pm

My partner (of 11 years) and I are celebrating this pride with the birth of our daughter Lilli, now 8 days old and our 3 year old son Jaiden.
Jaiden and I will watch the parade while Mommy & Lilli stay home. We are a happy family and we send our love and appreciation for everyone showing their pride!!
Everyday in everyway life gets better and better!!
Happy Pride Ya’ll!!

Native Southerner

November 1st, 2009
11:53 am

Today I will be proud in Atlanta. Tomorrow I will move to France to be with the man I love. The US federal government would rather I leave than offer me the same rights that heterosexuals take for granted. True equality in this country seems like such a distant dream. I will miss my home and family but that is the sacrifice I must make.

Happy Pride everyone!

Les Bouska

November 1st, 2009
11:28 am

So OTP Gay Conservative has the nerve to condemn and negate the value of something he clearly states he has never even seen or been a part of. Typical conservative bulls**t. Guess what, the world does not feel the need to conform to your personal desires. As for the extremist at the parade. It is because of them that the banker and the lawyers amongst us have the freedom to hold hands in the park.

Not gay Michael

November 1st, 2009
10:17 am

To all gay people, I love you and wish you a wonderful day at the festival. For today, ignore the Fox News crowd and celebrate because tomorrow you will have to be ready to fight again for what should be yours. I am so proud of you for standing up for your civil rights against so much hate.

ATLTGUY

November 1st, 2009
10:04 am

In response to Barak. Is this comming to Atlanta? Are you under the impression this is a traveling show? Its been comming to Atlanta for a while now sweety. Maybe you were down in NO or Panama City and missed that.