Atlanta is well-known for embracing its LGBTQ community and the annual Atlanta Pride Parade and Festival is proof of this. First organized in 1971, two years after the Stonewall Riots in New York, Atlanta Pride welcomes visitors from far-flung places to come join in on the fun. Originally scheduled for the month of June, the date was changed in 2008 to the weekend closest to National Coming Out Day in October, and it has remained an October event ever since.
The largest pride festival in the southeast, Atlanta Pride hosted over 300,000 guests in 2017 and 2018.
The first annual Atlanta Black Pride celebration was held in 1996 over the Labor Day holiday weekend, welcoming approximately 100,000 attendees.
Atlanta is often referred to as the gay capital of the South due to its progressive reputation, highly visible and robust LGBT community, vibrant LGBT nightlife culture, and growing number of LGBT people relocating to the city. In 2010, The Advocate named Atlanta the "gayest city in America.
The following is the event program of a previous pride edition. Stay tuned for the 2021 program.
Atlanta Gay Pride activities are spread out over most of October: speeches, special events, parties, and workshops are held throughout the month leading up to the big event. During the week before the Atlanta Pride Parade, a Dyke March and a Trans March take place. Piedmont Park is the center of activity for the festival weekend. Music, food, and fun are the order of the day. Polish up that old car and rev your 'cycle for the Pride Car and Motorcycle Show and enjoy the fabulous Marketplace with over 200 vendors expected. Come expecting a fun-filled, active weekend and you won't be disappointed!
The most sought-after ticket in town, however, is the Kickoff Party. This glam affair is held at the Georgia Aquarium on Friday, October 11, starting at 7pm and lasting into the wee hours. Touted as the city's biggest and best cocktail party, this event is the official opening of the Atlanta Gay Pride weekend festivities which lead up to the iconic parade. There is also an after-party beginning around 3am for those unable to attend the main Kickoff Party, or for those who simply want to keep the party spirit alive a little longer.
On Sunday, October 13, the official Atlanta Pride Parade transpires, with parade participants beginning to assemble at 10:30am at the Atlanta Civic Center MARTA station. The Parade sets off at 1pm, merging from Piedmont Avenue NE onto Peachtree Street North. It then winds its way through downtown before ending at the Charles Allen gate entrance to Piedmont Park, roughly three hours after it starts. Colorful costumes, banners, flags, and signs add to the excitement of floats and marching bands. Many parade-watchers join in on the fun, marching their way into the park.
Be sure to make your plans early for this memorable gay pride event that showcases the best of Atlanta's LGBTQ community. So will we be seeing you there this October?