Gay pride festival brought thousands downtown

Gay Pride parade
Gay Pride parade
Fans cheer on the parade-goers June 19 in downtown Augusta. This was the first parade for the CSRA gay community. Thousands came out to enjoy food, entertainment, and be proud of their sexuality.

Augusta Pride Day was well under way and a bevy of individuals looking to show their pride gathered in the Augusta Common for the festivities.

Live music, food vendors and the event itself have attracted a diverse crowd.  Organizers estimated more than 3,000 and police observers would not dispute the count.

Augusta resident Robert Saltzman said he was out this afternoon on a trip to the farmer's market when he and his wife decided to "check out" the commotion.

"We actually came here to get something to eat," Saltzman said.

He said that amid all of the flamboyancy, there were some worthy aspects of the festival.

"I thought it was good," he said. "There are some churches out here [and] a HIV testing tent over there which I thought was a good thing."

The festival is a first for Augusta, but Saltzman has seen similar gatherings before.

"I used to live in San Francisco so it's not a big deal," he said. "I think this is America and they should be able to do whatever they want."

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