Celebrating its fifth anniversary, Augusta Pride will feature two days of events with some returning favorites in downtown Augusta this weekend.
The weekend kicks off Friday, June 27, with Beats on Broad, August’s largest outdoor dance party, according to Lonzo Smith, vice president of Augusta Pride.
“This is our second year of doing it,” he said. “It was successful last year.”
A $5 admission provides access to five hours of entertainment and dancing at Augusta Common. Gates will open at 6 p.m. for Beats on Broad, which will feature a mix of music. DJ Kaos will open the set. Performing later in the evening will be Latrice Royale and Chad Michaels, who were featured in 2011’s season 4 of the television reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Smith said this is Royale’s debut in Augusta, but Michaels was a crowd favorite at last year’s events.
Michaels, who finished in the top three in RuPaul’s Drag Race and was crowned the winner when invited back for an all-star round, is best-known for impersonations of the singer Cher and has also performed as Christina Aguilera and Cyndi Lauper.
“Michaels is known to be one of the most successful queens in today’s drag industry,” according to Smith.
Royale finished in the top five of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Beats on Broad will end around midnight.
Augusta Pride continues on Saturday, June 28, with the parade at 10 a.m. down Broad Street. The festivities will take place at Augusta Common until 6.
Smith said events are free and open to all ages.
“We are going to have lots of vendors,” he said.
Performances are scheduled throughout the day Saturday. Michaels is scheduled to perform at noon and 1:55 p.m. Saturday with Royale taking the stage at 12:10 and 2:30. At 1:15 p.m., ’80s and ’90s pop diva Taylor Dayne will perform.
Others taking the stage include the bands, Synergy and False Flag. And a DJ will provide music during the day.
Depending on the weather, Augusta Pride draws between 7,000 and 10,000 people. Many of the patrons come from out of town, and it provides the biggest economic impact for the city during the month of June, Smith said. And it will go on rain or shine. Many of the vendors will be under tents.
While the event is heavy on the entertainment side, there is a serious purpose as well with some speakers and booths dedicated to education and advocacy for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
Smith said the theme of this year’s Augusta Pride is Everyone Loves.
“It’s part of everyone to want to give love and feel loved,” he said.
For more information, visit prideaugusta.org.