Friday, June 09, 2006

Pride Festival Continues To Grow

IN PRIDE 2006 Festival and Parade this weekend promises to be the biggest yet. This year's parade will feature more than a dozen floats and at least 70 entrants, including two marching bands. The Pride of Indy marching band, now more than 50 strong, along with a Pride band from Columbus Ohio, will be among the participants. And it wouldn't be a parade without a stable of politicians. This year's parade promises to draw more politicians to the event than in the past--look for a surprise or two. The parade will step off at Massachusetts Ave. and College at 10:00 a.m. and proceed along the Avenue to Vermont Street, and then end on Pennsylvania Street at University Park.

The festival in University Park will kick off at 11:00 a.m. and run until 7:00 p.m. The festival will feature more than 120 exhibitors and a full line-up of entertainment on the Main Stage at the north end of the park against the backdrop of the Indiana War Memorial on Vermont Street. RuPaul will headline the entertainment with a performance later in the day. A popular regional talent, singer Jennie Devoe, will perform in the afternoon, along with the Indianapolis Men's Chorus and the Indianapolis Women's Chorus, among several others.

Last year's event drew nearly 25,000, up from 6,000 in 2002 according to Pride president Gary Brackett. Scott VanKirk, Pride vice-president and parade co-chair tells the Star today, "We still have a long way to go, but it is super to see people come out and show their support for the community." VanKirk's Expo Design, well known for its work, is building a number of the floats for tomorrow's parade. He notes that six breast cancer survivors will serve as this year's grand marshals, riding aboard a pink grand marshal float.

The weekend festivities will conclude on Sunday with a picnic in Garfield Park, followed by a tea dance in the afternoon at Metro. For more information on the event, click here. Stop by AI Editor Gary R. Welsh's booth to say hello and sign his petition protesting legislative efforts to ban gay parent adoptions.

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