The eighth annual Augusta Pride celebration set for this weekend features two days of events including a dance party, parade and festival downtown.
“Pride is a very electric, high-energy event. There’s a strong sense of community when you walk around the Common,” said Eric Dryer, public relations coordinator for Augusta Pride.
Festivities kick off on Friday, June 23, with the Beats on Broad celebration at the Augusta Common. It’s billed as Augusta’s largest dance party, and Bebe Rexha will headline the event with DJ Kaos from Savannah playing a set before the 8 p.m. concert.
Beats on Broad does have a cover charge. It’s $10 for adults with children under 10 years old admitted free with a paying adult. Gates will open at 6 p.m.
Beats on Broad is the only event that has an admission charge with the rest of the festivities free and open to the public.
The Pride parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 24, with a route down Broad Street from 11th to Eighth streets.
Dryer said he expects about 20 floats in this year’s parade. Each year the parade gets bigger and will likely last about 25 to 30 minutes.
Grand marshals for this year’s parade will be Sisters from the Convent of St. Helena. Once located in south Augusta, the convent is now located in North Augusta, but has served as a place of prayer, reflection and retreat. In the early days of the Metropolitan Community Church, the sisters provided a worship space for members of the congregation.
In addition to the sisters, Georgia Sen. Harold Jones II will serve as a grand marshal for the parade.
The festival will begin at 11 a.m. at the Augusta Common.
There will be a variety of food vendors and other retailers. Also, there will be free HIV screenings.
Dryer said that many people will be wearing orange at this year’s event.
“Orange is a symbol of healing,” he said.
Last year, just a few days before the Augusta pride event was the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.
“It was a shock to us all,” he said.
He said he hopes others will join in wearing orange and attending this year’s activities.
“We encourage people to come downtown and leave a positive message of unity,” he said.
For more information, visit prideaugusta.org.