Now in its third year, the Augusta Pride festival has evolved from an event many said couldn’t succeed to a regional favorite that garners increasing participation with each passing year.
Dedicating to celebrating and bringing attention to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues and interests, the festival features a variety of events that attract patrons from both within and outside the Augusta area.
Alan Braden is on the event’s board of directors and has been involved with organizing since the beginning. He admitted that Augusta Pride initially attracted a lot of naysayers.
“There were a lot of people that told us that this just couldn’t be done,” he said. “And they said it certainly couldn’t be done in Augusta. This has proved that just wasn’t the case.”
Still, Braden admitted being nervous during the first Augusta Pride festival. He said tales of a failed parade some 10 years earlier had raised some doubts. He said the moment he turned a corner and found hundreds assembled to participate in the parade was when he realized the event could and would succeed in Augusta.
“They were vibrating they were so excited,” he said. “That’s when we knew it would be fine.”
The pleasure with Pride, Braden said, is that there are always moments like that. He said that while festivities are carefully planned, the event itself often dictates what happens and when.
“It’s like a surprise party you throw for yourself,” he said with a laugh. “You never know what is going to happen.”
AUGUSTA PRIDE EVENTS
For more information, see www.augustapride.com.
AUGUSTA PRIDE PRESIDENT’S SOIREE (VIP ONLY): 7-10 p.m. Thursday, June 21, Marion Hatcher House, 519 Greene St.; VIP badge required
CABARET: featuring Coti Collins, Nicole Roberts and Denise Russell; 9 p.m. Friday, June 22, Club Argos, 1923 Walton Way
KICK-OFF PARTY: featuring She N She, 9 p.m. Friday, June 22, The Filling Station, 1258 Gordon Hwy.
PARADE: 10-11 a.m. Saturday, June 23; parade turns onto Broad Street from 10th Street and proceeds to Sixth Street. The procession then turns down Sixth and turns onto Reynolds, ending in front of Augusta Common.
FESTIVAL: featuring performances by Tom Goss, Dee Hemingway, She N She and Josh Zuckerman, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, June 23, Augusta Common
ROADHOUSE: featuring Dee Hemingway, Tom Goss and Josh Zuckerman, 9 p.m. Saturday, June 23, The Filling Station, 1258 Gordon Hwy.
WRAP-UP POOL PARTY: featuring CSRA Leather Bears, 10 a.m. Sunday, June 24, Parliament Resort, 1250 Gordon Hwy.