Love, acceptance on parade

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Love was the theme of Saturday's Augusta Pride parade and festival in downtown Augusta, and there were plenty of people there to share the love.

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Revelers make their way down Broad Street. This year's event beat last year's numbers, according to Augusta Pride's Chris Bannochie.   Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Revelers make their way down Broad Street. This year's event beat last year's numbers, according to Augusta Pride's Chris Bannochie.

About 3,000 people lined Broad Street for the second annual parade and convened afterward at Augusta Common for a daylong festival.

Chris Bannochie, the public relations specialist for Augusta Pride, said many new members joined the organization after the parade.

"The fire marshal told me that we had met and exceeded last year's numbers as we came into the Common," Pride President Isaac Kelly said.

The parade began at 10th Street with grand marshals Deborah Ivins and Keith Buck waving from convertibles. Music, applause and rainbow flags accompanied each float. T-shirts and posters proclaimed "Love is for everyone," "Love conquers hate," or "Love wins."

"It was pretty great. It's so open. Everybody is free to be open and there's no negativity right here," said Heidi Holland, of Waynesboro, pointing to the Common.

Dedicated causes and non-profits were represented in the parade and at the festival, including those advocating abuse assistance and HIV testing.

One booth at the Common was Sean's Last Wish, founded by Elke Kennedy of Greenville, S.C., who spoke to the crowd in the afternoon about her son, Sean, who was killed four years ago. Since then, Kennedy has traveled 195,000 miles nationwide, educating people on the impact of bullying, hatred and religious bigotry toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transvestite community.

"By telling Sean's story, I'm putting a face to the hate," she said.

A religious plea was passed out via flier by Ed Longton, who said nothing as he walked through the event area handing the paper to everyone he passed. Its message was, "God loves everyone unconditionally. He calls us to love everyone in the Spirit, not the flesh." Richmond County sheriff's Lt. J.R. Compton said there were only a few protestors who held posters during the parade, and they did not say anything and left immediately afterward.

Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles spoke to the crowd at noon, saying he was glad to see such a big crowd and pointed out that the festival would generate money for the city.

Kelly said restaurants had been given Pride flags, and everyone at the festival was encouraged to patronize a restaurant displaying one.

"It'll be interesting to see what kind of financial impact we're having," he said. "Hopefully this will let us know."

As he stood back and watched the crowd, Nathan Morris seemed almost overwhelmed by the joy surrounding him. The lifelong Augusta resident, who looked relaxed with his long, braided hair and an orange lei around his shirtless neck, said Pride has opened his eyes to the attitude of acceptance in the city.

"I've been reduced to tears many times already, and I'm sure that's going to continue throughout the night," he said.

Reach Lynn Davidson and Luke Thompson at (706) 724-8051.

Were you Spotted?

See about 400 Spotted photos from the parade online at spotted.augusta.com.

Comments (103) Add comment
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Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 06/25/11 - 03:48 pm
0
0
LOL Koody, brokeback mountain

LOL Koody, brokeback mountain was a western. Also, the "handfull" of protesters was 3 skin heads that were there last year.

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 06/25/11 - 03:58 pm
0
0
Pretty pathetic protest. Just

Pretty pathetic protest. Just ignore these idiots and they will go away.

allhans
22970
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allhans 06/25/11 - 04:49 pm
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0
No need to have protesters,

No need to have protesters, the marchers will do more harm to themselves than others could ever do.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 06/25/11 - 05:08 pm
0
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I'm glad there weren't any

I'm glad there weren't any half nude marchers.

Riverman1
78415
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Riverman1 06/25/11 - 05:15 pm
0
0
"I'm glad there weren't any

"I'm glad there weren't any half nude marchers."

Well, I could take shirts off, but....

Riverman1
78415
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Riverman1 06/25/11 - 05:17 pm
0
0
Joe Bowles led the parade in

Joe Bowles led the parade in place of Mayor Copenhaver-Boardman?

countyman
18845
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countyman 06/25/11 - 05:25 pm
0
0
The amount of people downtown

The amount of people downtown today was crazy... The Saturday Market and 8th street Plaza was full of people all day.. Families strolled up and down the Riverwalk area.. The pride festival at the Augusta Common was jam packed and the sidewalks on Broad street were crowded...

harley_52
21847
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harley_52 06/25/11 - 05:38 pm
0
0
"handful?" Hrrrrmphhh...

"handful?"
Hrrrrmphhh...

InChristLove
22410
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InChristLove 06/25/11 - 06:01 pm
0
0
Wonder how many were local

Wonder how many were local people countryman and how many were out of town family and friends come to party. I'm sure it was good for the local business owners but truly a sad day IMO for Augusta.

InChristLove
22410
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InChristLove 06/25/11 - 06:03 pm
0
0
ECDanes, so someone who

ECDanes, so someone who disagrees and has the legal right to protest....they're idiots. My aren't we tolerant....NOT

countyman
18845
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countyman 06/25/11 - 06:16 pm
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0
Several men had on high heels

Several men had on high heels and some of the drag queens were really dressed up.. But I didn't notice too many over the top instances... There were plenty of straight people(including me) who supported the event...

Our downtown is large enough to hold several events at once... I'm sure Casa Blanca, Le Chat Noir, Imperial theatre, etc have something going on too.

I understand the people who have their religious beliefs.. I believe marriage is supposed to be between an man and woman also.. I just have no problem if two men or women want to be together..

InChristLove
22410
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InChristLove 06/25/11 - 06:19 pm
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0
countryman, you last

countryman, you last paragraph makes a point. IMO, I believe marriage is suppose to be between a man and a woman. If two males or two females want to be together, that is their business, BUT, I do not think a parade down the middle of my hometown, advertising which sexual orientation you are is necessary or wanted.

countyman
18845
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countyman 06/25/11 - 06:20 pm
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The event definitely helped

The event definitely helped out the local businesses downtown.. I'm positive the people who are against gay marriage had no problem accepting their money today.. The festival on the common doesn't end until 7 pm... I'm sure of the majority people won't be leaving downtown, but rather walking to another venue..

Broad street should be rather live even after 2 am....

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 06/25/11 - 06:22 pm
0
0
It's all about the money

It's all about the money ya'll.

InChristLove
22410
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InChristLove 06/25/11 - 06:25 pm
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0
Yes, our town is large enough

Yes, our town is large enough to hold several events on the same day. My question is, how many were there for the parade, how many for Sat. Market, how many because of the march against violence. When the total attendance downtown is together and insinuate that all 3,000 were there due to the Gay Pride Parade, it is a little misleading.

countyman
18845
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countyman 06/25/11 - 06:31 pm
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I didn't see a whole bunch of

I didn't see a whole bunch of flaunting, advertising, or in your face actions...

The small clips of the parades and festivals you see in San Francisco can't be compared..

Piperpig
9
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Piperpig 06/25/11 - 06:34 pm
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So you sat at home in the AC

So you sat at home in the AC watching a western on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and then bragged about it to the whole city? That's awesome.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 06/25/11 - 06:35 pm
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I sure hope somebody still

I sure hope somebody still has the camera rolling. I bet there's some advertising going on.

countyman
18845
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countyman 06/25/11 - 06:42 pm
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The 3k figure is solely the

The 3k figure is solely the attendance of the gay parade... The parade started at 10 am on Broad street this morning.. The festival portion still underway at the Augusta common seemed to have alot more than 3k people when I left..

I don't think hardly anybody knew about the march against violence... The march had to end before 12 noon because I didn't see anybody..

The Saturday Market is completely on the other side of downtown.. The market is located in the 8th street plaza and backs up to the Riverwalk area..

The majority of people downtown today were there because of the pride parade and festival...

InChristLove
22410
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InChristLove 06/25/11 - 06:38 pm
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0
I never said flaunting or in

I never said flaunting or in your face action, I said advertising. I've not seen the clip of the parade in San Fran so I'm not comparing anything. I believe that those who are participating in the parade, especially those that dress a little "out of norm" (IMO) are advertising their sexual preference.

Dixieman
12478
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Dixieman 06/25/11 - 06:38 pm
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Very few marchers, very few

Very few marchers, very few spectators.

InChristLove
22410
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InChristLove 06/25/11 - 06:41 pm
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Piperpig, who is your comment

Piperpig, who is your comment directed to? Don't recall anyone mentioning sitting at home in the AC or watching a western.

InChristLove
22410
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InChristLove 06/25/11 - 06:43 pm
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Not according to countryman,

Not according to countryman, Dixieman. (Piperpig, I think I understand your last comment).

countyman
18845
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countyman 06/25/11 - 07:02 pm
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I think Dixieman is referring

I think Dixieman is referring to the march against violence. I had no idea the show at the Imperial tonight is connected to the march..

The pride parade and festival had thousands of people.. The chronicle said 3k people attended the parade.. Take a look at the video included in the article and see the number of people.. The amount of people at the festival looked much bigger.. The event is expected to be much bigger this year and drew 4k people last year..

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 06/25/11 - 07:00 pm
0
0
Koody has to stay inside, his

Koody has to stay inside, his skin head will get sunburned.

burninater
8678
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burninater 06/25/11 - 07:10 pm
0
0
"What would you recommend

"What would you recommend telling a small child about why 2 men are holding hands. Or why an adopted kid has 2 dads show up for a school function."

You could try the truth, Koody. Although I think someone fixated on "Adam and Steve" may not gave the emotional maturity to handle the truth.

burninater
8678
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burninater 06/25/11 - 07:14 pm
0
0
*have

*have

harley_52
21847
Points
harley_52 06/25/11 - 07:29 pm
0
0
"It's all about the money

"It's all about the money ya'll."

I don't think that's true at all. I think it's all about the destruction of the family, the Catholic church, and American society.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/25/11 - 07:49 pm
0
0
i don't mind people not
Unpublished

i don't mind people not following every bit of deutoronomy. if a woman wants to stay in the house while she's having her monthly visitor or a man wants to lie with another man, that's all well and good. but there was a woman there handing out little jesus cards. that was very offensive. she looked right at me at put one of them in my hand like it was no big deal. just passing them out like candy- the graven image of god. that's breaking one of the ten commandments in front of everybody and shoving it in my face. what are we coming to?

dougk
3
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dougk 06/25/11 - 08:11 pm
0
0
If you don't like it ICL,
Unpublished

If you don't like it ICL, Delta is ready when you are....(dang, I've been waiting to use that). There are still penty of backwoods places...even in Georgia..haha...that you will feel much more comfortable.

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