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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

Captain Midnight

October 28th, 2009
2:10 pm

What are they proud of? Being gay? That’s nothing to be proud of any more than being proud to be straight,white or black. You take “pride in accomplishments. Your skin color or sexual orientation is not an accomplishment.

NOT Capt Midnight

October 28th, 2009
2:20 pm

Captain Midnight, the accomplishment is overcoming your arrogance. Do you feel left out in life? Is that what makes you bitter and ignorant about everything? Though gay citizens have been socially forgotten in times past and repremanded for who they are, they’d like to welcome you to their weekend celebration where they acknowledge those overcomings.

Rufus

October 28th, 2009
2:25 pm

The Lesbian tent city fills the lower meadow of Piedmont Park to capacity during Pride weekend. It’s cool to see people enjoying themselves and relaxed.

Midtown Residing

October 28th, 2009
2:38 pm

Im gay, and to be honest, there’s not alot to be proud of by “just being gay.” I don’t believe in pride or shame so it’s hard for me to relate to this, but, I do agree with The Captain, be proud of your accomplishments not that you are gay. We should call it a celebration of gay people, but not pride.

AH

October 28th, 2009
2:52 pm

Hey now sometime you just need to keep your mouth shut and let people enjoy themselves.

GA Girl

October 28th, 2009
3:03 pm

I hope the weekend in the park is enjoyable. I wished that all were welcomed at Piedmont Park. Some cultures would be greeted by angry residents and police officers.

while I have ur attention

October 28th, 2009
3:09 pm

ARE there any gay/lesbian friendly meeting places /bistros(whatever) in Gwinnett? I am old and not a bar hopper anymore but would still like to meet friends in open environment. Not just pride festival every year. Were can us burb-inites go?
I’m tired of Sam’s.

AH

October 28th, 2009
3:15 pm

Sorry if your gay your not allowed OTP you must get back inside the perimeter.

Rufus

October 28th, 2009
3:22 pm

I don’t think it’s flaunting sexuality Rather, it’s pride in how far the Gay and Lesbian community has come in society.
No longer do we have to hide. We don’t have to live in shame, nor fear.

We are able to live open, happy, productive lives with no boundaries. Let’s celebrate. We need to take pride in where we are now.

TI

October 28th, 2009
3:32 pm

Don’t miss the “Dykes on Bikes” during the parade on Sunday (hopefully it won’t rain). Some of those guys, oooops i meant girls look hilarious! Hopefully some of the local queens won’t go over board this year with their costumes or lack off and embarrass the rest of us.

Captain Midnight

October 28th, 2009
3:54 pm

@Not Captain Midnight..How is overcoming my arrogance their accomplishment? Bitter and ignorant am I? Did I name call? Socially forgotten? Was alchohol socially forgotten during prohibition? Can we just stop with all the “Look at me I’m black and proud, I’m gay and proud” etc. It’s all just kind of desperate. “Look at me!!”

Barak

October 28th, 2009
3:56 pm

OMG is this coming back to ATL again this year? I hear New Orleans is a great gay hang out….so is Panama City…..anywhere BUT ATL please…no harm intended…

Miss pooh

October 28th, 2009
8:26 pm

I love being a lesbian and i am not ashamed to say it i look at it like this i have pride weekend every weekend cause thats the only club i be in is gay clubs but its my birthday weekend just have fun see you there

[...] Festival: Atlanta Pride Festival runs through Nov. 1, Piedmont Park, Atlanta. FREE. What to know before you go. [...]

BILL

October 29th, 2009
6:51 am

midtown resides; now just curl up with a good book, look out your windows, what will you see, yes men woman kids and oh yes, they are gay and having fun and relaxation while you sit and say i wish it was me, come on out

Mike

October 29th, 2009
8:23 am

Gay Pride is for people who have to be ashamed of who they are the rest of the time – ranging from those who can’t talk about their partners at work to those who are physically abused by family members for their orientation.

For every person there in a “look at me!” outfit, there’s two dozen who look like the guy in front of you in line at the bank, or the people you see walking through your office lobby. Perhaps having “look at me!” people around makes the majority more comfortable to just walk around the park holding hands or being able to introduce their significant other as something besides “my friend.”

aaron kopper

October 29th, 2009
8:25 am

only jesus christ can offer a new life and a new start for all people. he died on the cross so that all can have eternal life.

here we go again

October 29th, 2009
8:35 am

Oh wonderful. Another weekend of absolute gridlock in the area around my neighborhood, where it takes me 45 minutes of waiting in traffic and taking detours just to go the 2 miles to get back to my house from the interstate. YAY.

ScottM

October 29th, 2009
8:39 am

The Pride festival is held every year in every major (unoppressed) city in the world and Atlanta is no exception. Pride is usually held in June of every year and it commemorates the June 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City when, for the first time, GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered) people stopped agreeing to be beaten up and harassed just because the police felt like it. This year it’s being held in October because of last year’s drought affecting Piedmont Park’s event scheduling. Why not come to Piedmont Park this weekend, or watch the parade on Sunday, and enjoy some of the great food, listen to the performers, enjoy the sunshine, see what it’s about. Learn about the world, appreciate differences, celebrate common hopes and accomplishments, learn to live together in harmony…that’s what Pride is to me.

Anger Manager

October 29th, 2009
9:11 am

Captain Midnight, do you want to talk about why you are so angry. I am here to listen.

Edward

October 29th, 2009
10:22 am

I see people like Captain Midnight and Midtown Residing are representing Ignorant Pride quite nicely.

Captain Midnight

October 29th, 2009
11:43 am

Edward, that was very clever. “Ignorant pride” get it? Like gay pride cept ignorant pride. Guess you told me.

ATL Shawty

October 29th, 2009
11:51 am

NENE is STILL the bomb!!!

Jonathan Kivett

October 29th, 2009
4:34 pm

Gay Pride might seem like an outdated cliche to those who live in major cities, but every year I have attended, I have heard more than one person who has made a pilgrimage from a small town in the southeast (and elsewhere). Not everyone can afford to leave their birthplace and move to a gay-friendly city. For those who live in smaller, less accepting places, Pride festivals give them a sense of belonging, of not being isolated and alone. For some people, that gathering can give them the courage to come out and be who they are. For others, it can show them a world where being gay IS a non-issue, and maybe they will break away from their roots and join that world.

And for some folks, seeing that they are truly not alone may be the difference, even in this day and age, between life and death.

I think it’s incredibly jaded to pretend that, just because we live in a world where no one cares or minds, that everyone else does. Maybe someday there will be no need for Pride Festivals. Maybe there will be no need to address homophobia and racism, because those things will dry up and disappear. I certainly wish that were the case today. It is, sadly, not.

Sickofstupid

October 29th, 2009
7:50 pm

SHUT-UP….Some of these comments are so ignorant..PLEASE!!..Grow up..Find a life to Get..And do it TODAY

Brad

October 30th, 2009
9:01 am

Before anyone calls me a redneck or accuses me of “hate,” I want to say that I don’t care what two people do in the privacy of their own home. I really don’t even care if the state chooses to acknowledge them as “married” or not. My main concern is my family and their well-being. I used to live in Midtown and during the gay pride weekend, we would see people wearing costumes or outfits that were just simply unacceptable for children. I don’t mean in the park, I knew to stay away, I mean in restaurants and shops. There is a common standard of decency that some (definitely, not all) that attend gay pride throw out the window. It’s like they think its’ their weekend to expose the world to their immoral standards. I don’t care who you sleep with, in fact, I just want you to be happy, so do whomever you please, just behave and dress in public according to community standards.

Captain Midnight

October 30th, 2009
9:52 am

Hey Brad, well said. Btw, they’re gonna call you worse than redneck.

Break it down

October 30th, 2009
10:46 am

We’ve been made to feel ashamed, wrong and sick by society for a very long time. We’ve been excluded, put down, jailed, banned, discriminated against – you name it. Some of our families have not been proud of us and we’ve had to find our own way. Many religions reject and marginalize us until we said we too are God’s children. Pride simply means to be proud of who you are, regardless of others’ ignorance or judgment. Of course you dont’ get it if you’re not gay….black……etc.

To top it off we don’t have the same civil and federal rights as does every other American citizen. The message is no different than it is for any other oppressed group. You don’t get it if it hasn’t touched your life or you’re prejudiced.

K Ryan

October 30th, 2009
11:04 am

The above article erroneously states “no tents” spoke with Paul of the Pride committee moments ago and tents are indeed permitted as long as Piedmont Park guidelines are met..no stakes etc. Be certain to read park guidelines and COME TO PRIDE WEEKEND AND SHOW YOUR PRIDE!!!

Jamie Gumbrecht

October 30th, 2009
11:31 am

Thanks K Ryan! I’ll clarify in the post!

diana

October 30th, 2009
12:24 pm

Lesbian here. Some of us also struggle with how some of our sisters dress or don’t dress. However, part of our culture is acceptance. I think November may be good since it’s colder and may require more clothes! lol

I love PrideFest

Paige

October 30th, 2009
1:35 pm

Thanks, ScottM, for letting us know what Pride weekend in June commemorates. I could never understand why any group would choose the dead heat of summer to have a parade/get-together – and now I know!

Regardless of the time of the year, I think it’s great that people can celebrate being comfortable with who and how they are. Most of the time, it takes at least 50 years for ANYONE – gay or straight – to feel at home in his own skin – so anything ahead of that curve is a plus.

Have a great weekend!

Inn At The Peachtrees !

October 30th, 2009
1:44 pm

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anyone care?

October 30th, 2009
2:14 pm

Let it rain.

Momo

October 30th, 2009
5:30 pm

So you can’t bring Alcohol into the park? What’s up with that???????????

StraightNotNarrow

October 30th, 2009
7:43 pm

I love Pride Fest – everyone has so much fun, there’s so much happiness and love all around, so much freedom for everyone to be exactly who they are – makes me wish I was gay. :)

Maggie

October 30th, 2009
11:47 pm

homophobes. stay in your house, watch fox news, and leave the rest of us alone. thanks.

Ladybug

October 31st, 2009
7:18 am

A few years ago I had the pleasure of spending a day with my nephew at the Pride Festival in Daytona Beach. The people there made me feel very welcome and I enjoyed my day. Guess what a**holes, they didn’t condem me for being straight. BTW, I lost my precious nephew to HIV a couple of years later. I still cherish that day with him.

Patrick Wilson

October 31st, 2009
12:12 pm

Pride has turned into nothing more than a Corporate event. I have been to Pride every year since 1994. I never see anything but Corporations hawking their services I know they pay big bucks for the tent space. The thing that bothers me is no one seems to realize that Pride 2009 is a corporate event. I am curious where does all the money go that is generated. Deirdre Heffernan you are the CEO per the the Secretary of State, PAUL GIBSON you are the CFO per the Secretary of State just how much money are you being paid. Except for the Parade which I have yet to understand why everyone walking does not carry a sign stating I am your Doctor,Lawyer,Plumber,Electrcian,etc. Instead all you see are screaming Queens that do not represent 98% of our population, That is what is shown on the T.V. and Newspapers.The final insult was having Pride on Halloween weekend. Paul McCartney can have his show in the park but the GAY PRIDE is giving Halloween wake up Gay Atlanta you just got slapped in the face again. And you are going to allow it. Shame on you!!!!!!!!!!!!

OTP Gay Conservative

October 31st, 2009
8:37 pm

I am a fiscally conservative gay man living OTP. I have never been to a Pride Parade. In philly we had a fall event called Outfest, it was a street fair, and did not invite the costumed rituals that Pride Parades do. I do think that if the gay community ever wants to be trully socially accepted, they need to learn the difference between public and private attire. How does being walked down the street in a jockstrap, a dog collar and leash, in anyway signify pride? Is that what Stonewall Riots taught us? The time of Stonewall was a different world. People were arrested and jailed for patronizing ‘gay’ bars or clubs, even if they were just playing pool and drinking beer, in 2009 there are two gay television networks, gay characters on the three major television networks, gay politicians etc. The time for the archaic festivals and parades has passed. I say this because I am sure the only things that will be covered by the media will be the extremists.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!!

Jill

November 1st, 2009
5:08 pm

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

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.

Peadawg

November 1st, 2009
8:15 pm

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

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.

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.

mitzymy

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.

[...] 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 … [...]

eyeful

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”…

teazer

November 2nd, 2009
10:13 am

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

martha

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!!!!!

gfkjb

November 2nd, 2009
12:10 pm

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

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.

CJ

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!

Vix

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.

CJ

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.