Annual Pride Festival expected to draw thousands for parade and performances


Tamara Stevens

Planned Parenthood activists walk in the 2017 Atlanta Pride Parade alongside a marcher dressed in a dinosaur costume. The annual parade is a festive event with attendees often wearing bright colors, dressing in costumes and showing their pride with rainbow accessories.

The 48th annual Atlanta Pride Festival is set to take place Oct. 12-15 in Piedmont Park and the surrounding Midtown area.  

Atlanta Pride started in 1970 as a small march through Downtown Atlanta to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a series of demonstrations led by the LGBTQ community in response to a police raid at New York City’s Stonewall Inn. The festival has since grown into one of the city’s premier events, drawing upwards of 200,000 people each year.  

This year’s festival is expected to be one of the largest on record and features a lineup of events for people of all ages, both members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies. While the festival is free, there is an option to purchase VIP tickets for $75 a day.


The Parade

The festival’s hallmark event is no doubt the annual Atlanta Pride Parade. Whether participating in the parade or watching from the sidewalks, there is something for everyone. In recent years, the parade has featured over 7,000 participants representing more than 200 community groups, organizations, political campaigns and companies, as well as thousands more people along the route cheering them on.  

This year’s parade is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14 and participants are encouraged to gather starting at 9:30 a.m. The parade will follow a similar route to recent years, kicking off at the Civic Center MARTA Station and ending at Piedmont Park’s Charles Allen Gate, across the street from Grady.

In addition to the parade, the festival will also include two marches. The annual Trans March will kickoff on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 1:45 p.m., with the annual Dyke March taking place later that day at 6 p.m.


The Performances

The Atlanta Pride Festival features a packed lineup of performances, including music, dance, and comedy. These performances will take place throughout the weekend on three stages at Piedmont Park: the Nissan Partners of Progress Stage, the Coca-Cola Stage and the Heineken Stage, all named for sponsors of the festival.

Saturday’s lineup features outside acts such as YouTube sensation and singer Madison Beer and local LGBTQIA theater company Out Front Theatre. Attendees can also see the Shooting Stars Cabaret, a show curated specially for the festival that will feature “the rising stars of local Atlanta drag and performance art,” according to the Atlanta Pride website.  

On Sunday, festival goers can see more acts, like Ada Fox, the Texas drag queen made famous by competing on the last season of American Idol.

This year’s Atlanta Pride Festival has a lot to offer, with events and activities for people of all ages and interests, and its close proximity to Grady makes it accessible to students and families.