Celebration Community Church announces plans for new center

Members of Celebration Community Church’s Capital Campaign Committee and Building Committee gather around a sign announcing The Rev. Carol A. West Community Center. The church held a steak cookout on Sunday, Aug. 19, to view the footprint for the planned expansion.

The congregation at Celebration Community Church celebrated the church’s upcoming expansion Sunday when details of the new community center were announced.

A capital campaign kicked off last year for the $1.3 million building and is expected to be complete by the end of 2013. Construction will take about a year.

More plans of the building were released Sunday. The building will serve as a meeting place for about 400 people and will be built north of the church with a covered walkway linking it to the current sanctuary. It will be named The Rev. Carol A. West Community Center in honor of West, who marked her 14th year at the church Sunday.

West said the name was announced again Sunday with the new expansion details after the church’s Board of Directors voted to name it for her after last year.

“I was very honored,” West told Instant Tea. “It was a very sweet surprise.”

West has seen the church grow from 35 members when she started more than a decade ago to the roughly 600 members now. She said the expansion will help the church, which is the largest Tarrant County church with a primary LGBT outreach, offer more groups and organizations to use the church as a meeting place.

“We’ve forged ahead in the community and this expansion is part of reaching out to the community,” she said.

Tom Guerin of Jepsen Guerin Architects in Dallas will be the architect on the project. Nan Faith Arnold of Nan Faith Arnold Co. in Dallas will serve as project manager.

To learn how you can support the capital campaign, call 817-335-3222.

Read the press release below.

—  Anna Waugh

Celebration Church kicks off capital campaign

Church campus will add space for meetings, dinners, recreational facilities, gardens, columbarium

Carol West

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth kicked off a $1.3 million campaign this week to build a community center that will be named for the Rev. Carol West.

West said that the church needs the additional space because the current facility is too small.

“When we get together for a dinner, we can’t all be seated,” she said.

The current fellowship hall seats about 130.

When West was hired 13 years ago, the church had a membership of 37. But that soon changed.

“We hit the ground running with programming,” West said, and the church grew rapidly.

Celebration bought the current church building, at 908 Pennsylvania Ave., from St. John’s Evangelical and Reformed Church in 2001, after St. John’s merged into a nearby United Church of Christ.

Today, more than 550 people belong to the nondenominational Celebration Church.

Pam Ibbotson, a church board member working on the capital campaign, said that $100,000 is already in the building fund and that another $250,000 needs to be raised before construction starts. She said the church members are hoping that will be within the next year.

“It’s hard to predict how long it will take,” Ibbotson said.

The balance of the construction budget will be funded through pledges.

Tom Guerin, of Jepsen Guerin Architects of Dallas, drew plans for the new building that will be attached to the fellowship hall.

After the plans for the project were drawn, the church hired Nan Faith Arnold as project manager. They met Arnold, who is co-chair of the Black Tie Dinner board of directors, through the annual fundraising event.

Arnold worked with them on another project: Members purchased a building in the same block as the church and donated it to the church. The building was renovated into Barron House, a full-time counseling center that now employs eight counselors.

Arnold served as project manager for that construction as well.

Arnold said that the new building will add 7,200 square feet of space and will be attached to the fellowship hall.

“It blends in with the existing structure and makes it more aesthetically pleasing,” Arnold said of the design for the expansion.

The main church building, built in 1950, has historic landmark status and will not be touched.

Meeting rooms, restrooms, storage and food pantry space will be added.

“There will be a wonderful lobby and a place for people who need to be dropped off,” West said.

The church has been collecting canned goods and distributing them mostly to other organizations that either have meals programs or their own pantries. Ibbotson said that often when a pallet of cans had been delivered in the past, the problem has been where to store them. The new building will solve that problem.

Another feature that will be added is a columbarium, a storage space for cremated remains. Arnold said that because those remains must be permanently stored, the church came up with a good master plan for the entire property.

She said that construction plans are still in the preliminary stage, but she expects the columbarium to begin with 40 to 80 niches for cremated remains.

Ibbotson said that they didn’t want to lose part of the community lawn, which the church uses for a number of outdoor events throughout the year. Garden and lawn space are provided in the master plan as well as additional parking.

Celebration Church has become a popular meeting place for the Fort Worth LGBT community, and Ibbotson said that several things prompted the LGBT community to meet at the church.

“When we became affiliated with Black Tie Dinner, we gained visibility in Fort Worth,” she said.

She said that West’s involvement in city matters, especially after the 2009 Rainbow Lounge raid, and her participation in police diversity training brought new recognition to the church.

The church has gained such attention in Fort Worth that Mayor Betsy Price spent the last Sunday before the election at Celebration Church, West said.

West doesn’t take personal credit for the  church’s growth and prominence.

Instead, she said, “We have a very generous congregation.”

The church has awarded 30 scholarships to area students who are not Celebration Church members. They have donated tons of food to about 50 different Fort Worth organizations that distribute food and serve meals. And they offer meeting space at no charge to LGBT groups like Fairness Fort Worth and other community organizations like Tarrant Dialysis.

And when the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Fort Worth Police Department needed a safe place to meet with the LGBT community after the Rainbow Lounge raid, the church was the meeting place, with West on hand to offer a calming voice.

West said that when the Barron House property became available, a group of members pledged $100 a month to buy the building and paid it off in five years. She sees similar generosity from the congregation in making the current plan possible.

The church has purchased most of the property in the block. West said that when they demolished one building she described as “the crack house,” they set up bleachers for the congregation to watch. The bulldozer driver said it was the first time his work had ever received a standing ovation.

West said that the church has an active group for younger adults in their 20s and 30s. She would like to see a Fort Worth branch of Youth First Texas, and she would like to offer rehearsal space to QCinema’s live performance group.

With additional space, the church can grow to become an even stronger hub of the community, West said.

Ibbotson said it was time for the congregation to move forward with its expansion plans — “not just for the congregation, but for the community,” she said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

West goes rappelling for dollars, raises ‘about $10,000′ for Celebration Community Church

The Rev. Carol West swings near an arch of the 26-story-tall XTO Building in downtown Fort Worth after rappelling down from the roof of the historic edifice. At this point, she had only about four stories left to go to reach the sidewalk.

“My knees are knocking!”

Those were the Rev. Carol West‘s first words to me this morning after she rappelled down the side of the 26-story XTO Building in downtown Fort Worth.

But the adventure was worth it. Celebration Community Church‘s senior pastor told me she wasn’t sure of the exact total she raised for the church with her trip from the roof of the 1920s-era building to the Main Street sidewalk via rope, but that it was “about $10,00o.”

West’s daredevil adventure was part of a day-long fundraising event presented by Downtown Fort Worth Inc., and produced by Over The Edge USA, a nonprofit that does rappelling events like this one all over the country. Participants paid $1,000 to rappel down the building, and then raised funds for their chosen organizations by getting people to sponsor them in the event. At least I think that’s how it worked. I haven’t found exact details anywhere and I didn’t have a chance to ask West.

West was one of several local dignitaries and celebrities who participated in the event. Mayor Mike Moncrief took the leap, too, as did the TCU Horned Frog mascot. West told me this morning that she did it because “the church’s board thought it was a good idea.” By the look on her face, I’m not sure she was thinking it was a good idea at all!

(Just as a side note, while I was waiting for Carol to take her turn rappelling down the building, I sent a text to gay Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns, asking him why he wasn’t down there jumping off that building with Carol. He told me he was in New York where he spent last night at an LGBT fundraiser where he got to introduce President Obama. I guess that’s a pretty good excuse!)

Anyway, you can see more photos after the jump. And next time you see Carol West, be sure to give her a big high five — 26 stories is WAY high, and I am not sure I would have had the guts to step out over that edge.

—  admin

Carol ‘Daredevil’ West set to rappel down XTO Building in downtown Fort Worth Friday morning

The Rev. Carol West, senior pastor for Fort Worth’s Celebration Community Church, is going “Over The Edge” Friday morning, June 24, right about 11:20 a.m. — and she’s raising money for the church in the process.

The Rev. Carol West

West will be joining a host of other Cowtown dignitaries and celebs — including Mayor Mike Moncrief, the TCU mascot and Hot Dog Man (yes, in full hot dog costume — who will all  be taking turns rappelling down the side of the 26-story XTO Building, 714 Main St.

I am not sure of all the details, but from what I can gather — from this story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the Celebration Community Church website, and the Downtown Fort Worth Inc. website — Over The Edge is a special events company that offers “signature rappelling events for nonprofit organizations.” Those who participate pay $1,000 for the honor of risking their necks, and I believe folks can donate money to their favorite daredevil to raise money for their cause.

I believe the rappelling starts around 7 a.m. West’s time slot, as I said, is about 11:20 a.m.

You know, I have known Carol West for at least 20 years or so (and have been dying for her to show me the best bass fishing spots on Cedar Creek Lake for at least half that long), and I can’t say I’m surprised she’s doing this. I mean, after all, she has great faith and a great love for her church and her community. She’s bound to be the best one out there.

And I will be there with camera in hand, so watch for photos of the Rev’s spectacular feat tomorrow on Instant Tea.

—  admin

Where to wed • Pride Weddings & Celebrations 2011

Many local gay-affirming churches are happy to help couples jump the broom

A NEW IDEA | The new Interfaith Peace Chapel at the Cathedral of Hope, designed by gay architect Phillip Johnson, performs same-sex ceremonies.

Some folks are happy with a private ceremony expressing their love, but others appreciate the sanctity of a officiant declaring their union in the eyes of God. Here are some churches that embrace same-sex couples.

………………………

AGAPE MCC — 4615 E. California Parkway (SE Loop 820), Fort Worth. 817-535-5002. Agapemcc.com. Revs. S. David Wynn, Sr., Teri Lubbers and Robert Myers. Require pre-service counseling.

Ascension Lutheran Church — 4230 Buckingham Road, Garland. 972-276-0023. Ascensiontexas.org. Pastor Kurt Friederich. Blessing service for church members; no weddings for non-members.

Bethany Presbyterian Church — 4523 Cedar Springs Road. 214-528-4084. Called “an open, caring, inclusive, multicultural ‘More Light’ congregation.”

Cathedral of Hope/Interfaith Peace Chapel — 5910 Cedar Springs Road. 214-351-1901, ext 109. Cathedralofhope.com. Senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson. Contact Brian Parman, director of the Interfaith Peace Chapel, for information. The Sanctuary of the Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ features beautiful faceted glass windows and can accommodate up to 750 guests. Reception accommodations are also available.

Celebration Community Church — 908 Pennsylvania Ave., Fort Worth, 817-335-3222. Celebration-community-church.com. Pastor Carol West; ask for wedding/holy union coordinator. Non-denominational Christian congregation.

Center for Spiritual Living — 4801 Spring Valley Road, Suite 115. 972-866-9988; CSLDallas.org. Senior minister Rev. Petra Weldes; Rev. Dr. Marsha Meghdadpour. Marriage or commitment ceremony. United Centers for Spiritual Living.

Community Unitarian Universalist Church — 2875 E. Parker Road, Plano, 972-424-8989. Communityuuchurch.org. Rev. Patrick D. Price. The Unitarian Universalist Church performs weddings and supports full marriage equality.

Congregation Beth El Binah — Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St. 214-521-5342, ext. 1784. Bethelbinah.org. Email Sandy Horwitz, shorwitz@bethelbinah.info or Diane Litke, dlitke@bethelbinah.info. Reform Jewish congregationReform Judaism recognizes marriage between two Jewish men or women; however the rabbi will perform an interfaith service.

First Unitarian Church of Dallas — 4015 Normandy Ave. 214-528-3990. Dallasuu.org. Rev. Dr. Daniel Chesney Kanter; Associate Minister, Rev. Aaron White. The Unitarian Universalist Church performs weddings and supports full marriage equality.

Grace Fellowship in Christ Jesus — 411 S. Westmoreland Road. 214-333-9779. Pastor Tony Hoult. Perform holy unions.

Harvest MCC — 3916 E. McKinney St., Suite B, Denton. 940-484-6159. Harvestmcc.org. Performs weddings or holy unions.

Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas — 1840 Hutton, Suite 100, Carrollton. 972-243-0761. Mccgd.org. Revs. Colleen Darraugh, Steven Pace, Kay Seitz. Provides pre-marital counseling and performs weddings or holy unions. The church facility is available for non-members to rent.  The MCC can also connect couples with musicians, photographers and caterers.

Midway Hills Christian Church — 11001 Midway Road. 214-352-4841. Midwayhills.org. Rev. Terry L. Zimmerman. Performs union ceremonies.

Promise MCC — 2527 W. Colorado Blvd. 214-623-8400. Promisemcc.org. Senior pastor Rev. Jon Haack. Performs weddings or holy unions.

Trinity MCC — 1846 W. Division St. Suite 305, Arlington. 817-265-5454. Trinitymcc.org. Performs weddings or holy unions.

Unity Church of Christianity — 3425 Greenville Ave. 214-826-5683. Dallasunity.org.  Rev. Steve Colladay. Performs holy unions, commitment ceremonies. The minister is openly gay and supported by the congregation.

White Rock Community Church — 9353 Garland Road. 214-320-0043. Whiterockchurch.org. Pastor Douglas Shaffer. Contact wedding coordinator Mary Marshall for information. Performs holy unions, commitment ceremonies or weddings — “whichever the couple is comfortable with.” Activities center for receptions.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff — 3839 W. Kiest Blvd. 214-337-2429. Oakcliffuu.org. Rev. Mark Walz. The Unitarian Universalist Church performs weddings and supports full marriage equality.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Holiday Service Schedule

As Christians celebrate Easter and the Holy Week leading up to it, and Jewish people celebrate Passover, Dallas Voice has compiled a list of Passover and Easter services offered by LGBT congregations in the Metroplex.

PASSOVER

• Congregation Beth El Binah
2701 Reagan Street
April 19 — Passover seder, at 7 p.m.; $35 members/$50 non-members for dinner and catered seder.

EASTER

• Agape MCC
4615 E California Parkway, Fort Worth
April 24 at 10:30 a.m. followed by Meet, Greet and Eat at noon.
• Cathedral of Hope
5910 Cedar Springs Rd.
April 17 — Palm Sunday liturgical worship at 9 and 11 a.m. and service en Español at 1 p.m.
April 20 — Holy Wednesday contemporary worship at 7:15 p.m.
April 21 — Maundy Thursday service of holy communion at 7:15 p.m.
April 22 — Good Friday traditional service at 7:15 p.m.
April 23 — Holy Saturday Easter prayer vigil at 7 p.m.
April 24 — Easter Sunday service with Voices of Hope at 7 a.m., Easter worship service at 9 and 11 a.m. Easter service en Español at 1 p.m.

• Celebration Community Church
908 Pennsylvania Ave., Fort Worth
April 24 at 9 and 11 a.m.

• Harvest MCC
3916 E. McKinney St., Suite B, Denton
April 24 at 11 a.m.

• MCC of Greater Dallas
1840 Hutton Dr #100 Carrollton
April 24 at 10 a.m.

• Promise MCC
2527 W Colorado Blvd
April 24 — Easter Sunday worship celebration with communion at 10:30 a.m.
April 24 at 7 p.m.

• St. Mychal Judge Old Catholic Church
2701 Reagan Street
April 17 — Palm Sunday service at 3 p.m.
April 24 — Easter Sunday service at 3 p.m.

• Trinity MCC
1846 W. Division St. #305, Arlington
April 24 at 11 a.m.

• White Rock Community Church
9353 Garland Road
April 17 — Palm Sunday service at 10:45 a.m.
April 22 — Good Friday service at 7 p.m. in the chapel
April 24 — Easter Sunday service at 10:45 a.m.

—  John Wright

Black Tie announces 2011 beneficiaries

From Staff Reports

The board of the Black Tie Dinner this week announced that 18 local organizations and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation have been named as beneficiaries of the 2011 Black Tie Dinner, set for Nov. 12 at Sheraton Dallas hotel.

This will be the 30th anniversary of the fundraising event.

The 18 local beneficiaries are:

• AIDS Arms
• AIDS Interfaith Network
• AIDS Outreach Center
• AIDS Resources Rural Texas
• AIDS Services Dallas
• Celebration Community Church
• Congregation Beth El Binah
• Equality Texas Foundation
• Health Services North Texas
• Lambda Legal
• Legacy Counseling
• Legal Hospice
• Northaven UMC
• Resource Center Dallas
• The Women’s Chorus
• Turtle Creek Chorale
• White Rock Friends
• Youth First Texas

In a statement released Thursday, Black Tie Co-Chair Nan Arnold said Black Tie is “thrilled” to be able to help support the beneficiary organizations, adding that “thanks to the … great work that they do, men and women are living longer, healthier, happier and more fulfilled lives.”

Arnold explained that beneficiary applications are reviewed by the 24 active members of the Black Tie board and advisory members. They validate services each applicant organization provides, along with the organization’s stability and strategic plan.

Ron Hill, chair of the Black Tie Community Relations Committee said the process is “enlightening,” allowing board members to “understand the purpose of these vital organizations. It’s interesting to see the short and long-term goals they have established to sustain and increase the services they provide.”

Since it began in 1982, Black Tie Dinner has distributed more than $15 million to local beneficiaries and the Human Rights Campaign Fund. For more information go online to BlackTie.org or call 972-865-2239.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 1, 2011.

—  John Wright

Fairness Fort Worth meeting tonight

Fairness Fort Worth meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvannia Ave., and everyone interested is helping set the organization’s agenda for the coming year is welcome to attend.

Initiatives already on the agenda include:

• working with Fort Worth Independent School District and other area school districts on anti-bullying projects and LGBT inclusive policies for students and staff.

• reaching out to other local governmental bodies and major employers on LGBT issues and providing  LGBT diversity training.

• coordinating and training with all Tarrant County hospitals to ensure equal access to healthcare for LGBT people.

For more information, check out the Fairness Fort Worth Facebook page.

—  admin

A new direction for Tarrant Pride

Parade, block party kick off 29th Pride in Fort Worth as organizers get ready to move it downtown next year; annual picnic promises to be bigger than ever, planners say

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Tony Coronado
Tony Coronado

Officials with the Tarrant County Gay Pride Parade are planning a big announcement on Sunday during the annual parade along South Jennings Street in Fort Worth: Next year’s 30th annual Tarrant County Gay Pride Parade will move to Downtown Fort Worth, according to parade chair Tony Coronado.

But first, Tarrant County’s LGBT community gets to party at this year’s parade and picnic. And they don’t have to wait for 2011 to start getting a taste of something new in Tarrant County Pride.

This year’s parade follows the same route as previous years, but reverses direction, marching toward downtown in anticipation of next year’s move, Coronado said. The 29th annual Pride parade begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3.

An addition to this year’s parade is a block party. The intersection of South Jennings and Pennsylvania avenues near the end of the parade route will be closed for the day for the event.

The Rev. Carol West of Celebration Community Church and Mr. Gay Pride Week Scott Wasson Conger are the parade grand marshals. Fort Worth PD’s LGBT Liaison Officer Sara Straten and Chief of Police Jeffrey Halstead are honorary grand marshals.

Among the 50 entries in this year’s parade are several, including Resource Center Dallas and American Airlines, that marched two weeks ago in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade in Dallas.

Members of Club Los Rieles saw Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association’s entry in the Dallas parade and approached Coronado about participating. They’ll be traversing the parade route on horseback in the Tarrant County Pride parade this weekend.

Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association President Jody Wasson said Pride Pets is the big addition to this year’s parade. Pets will be judged in three categories according to size. Prizes will be given for best-dressed pet and best-dressed pet and owner.

At 4 p.m. during the block party, pets will be judged on behavior, obedience, grooming and manner. A king and queen will be awarded rhinestone crowns and royal capes.

They will preside over next year’s pet entries and will ride their own float in the 2011 Pride Parade.

Jazz-rockabilly-blues group Aurora Bleu performs on the block party main stage at 3 p.m.

Coronado said that although it is too late to enter the parade, those who are interested can still apply vendor booths at the block party.

“We’ll fit ’em in,” Coronado said. “If you would like to do business and market to us, this is a great place to start.”

He said that because Fort Worth’s LGBT community is so spread out, this is the best place to reach this market.

Additional events are planned throughout Pride Week, culminating in the Pride Picnic on Oct. 10.

QCinema screens “Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride” at Four Day Weekend Theater in downtown Fort Worth at 8 p.m. on Monday Oct. 4.

Best Friends Club has game night on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. and Pride Karaoke on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 9:30 p.m.

Fort Worth’s Imperial Court holds its Texas Sweetheart Ball in memory of Taylor Vaughan at the club on Thursday, Oct. 7. And the Texas Gay Rodeo Association performs at the bar on Friday, Oct. 8.

Rhonda Mae presents her annual “Wall of Food Show” at Changes on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m.

Tarrant County Pride Week ends with the annual Pride Picnic in Trinity Park near the 7th Street Pavilion.

Dianne Dunivan is the chair of the picnic. She said this event has “expanded the area a bit” this year, and there will be two stages instead of one.

Entertainment runs on the Bud Light Main Stage from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Local singer Kylie D. Hart and country performer James Allen Clark will be featured on the main stage. A number of groups, including a local stomp troop, will also perform through the afternoon.

On the second stage, a DJ will spin music.

Vendors will be in a tent.

Sara Straten
POLICE PRIDE | Sara Straten, the Fort Worth Police Department’s LGBT liaison officer, pictured, and Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead will be honorary grand marshals for the Tarrant County Gay Pride Parade this weekend. Grand marshals will be the Rev. Carol West and Scott Wasson Conger.

“We’re attracting some vendors from out of state,” said co-chair Tina Harvey. “We’ve got a couple of spots left. That’s it.”

But, she said, with enough last-minute vendors, they would rent a second tent.

Harvey said about 40 vendors scheduled include community groups, T-shirt vendors, jewelry and crafts sellers, churches and an attorney.

“The attorney has lots of information on adoption by same-sex couples and estate planning,” Harvey said.

She said the picnic setting is better for taking some time to sit down and talk about adoption or getting involved in community groups than the block party.

Harvey said that hamburgers, hot dogs and beer will each be $1 this year. At past picnics, food was free but mounting the downtown parade will cost more than this year.

“So we’re getting people used to paying a little,” Harvey said.

Dunivan added that the charge should cut down on waste as well. She said that people are also welcome to bring their own coolers and grills.

Picnic activities will include volleyball, horseshoes, tug-of-war and sack races. She said high-heel drag races and wheelbarrow races have been popular events at past Pride picnics.

About 200 children participated in the kids’ area last year. Face painters and balloon artists are this year’s addition to that section.

Harvey said that next year they’re planning events throughout the week and are hoping that people who come to town for Pride will stay for the full week.
Dunivan said the picnic is like homecoming.

“Come out and enjoy the day,” she said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 01, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

New block party added to Tarrant Pride celebration

Parade, picnic highlight week of gay, lesbian Pride events in Fort Worth

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Tarrant County Pride
MARCHING THROUGH | Celebration Community Church celebrated the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion with a float in a previous Tarrant County Gay Pride Parade depicting a high-heeled shoe kicking down a wall.

Dallas isn’t alone in holding Pride in a month other than June. Fort Worth’s 29th Pride parade will take place two weeks after the Dallas event, on Oct. 3.

A week of Pride events begins with a Sunday afternoon parade on South Jennings Avenue that steps off at 2 p.m.

“The parade is going to change directions,” said Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association President Jody Wasson.

The route will be reversed from previous years, heading toward downtown. Line-up will be on South Jennings Avenue at Rosedale, where the parade traditionally has ended.
“What’s new this year is the block party,” said Wasson.

The intersection of South Jennings and Pennsylvania avenues near the new end of the parade route will be blocked off for a street party starting at noon. He said the block party will include entertainment through the afternoon and food, soft drinks, beer and wine will be available.

“There will be an area for the kids and for pets,” he said. “Even your pets have Pride.”

Tony Coronado of the TCGPWA committee said that anyone can enter their dogs in the parade. They will compete in small, medium and large categories. From the winners, a king and queen will be chosen who will preside over next year’s Pride Pets competition.

Although it rained last year, that parade was the largest in Fort Worth history, coming just months after the Rainbow Lounge raid.

Wasson said he couldn’t predict participation in this year’s parade and that applications are just now coming in.

To participate, applications with payment must be postmarked by Friday, Sept. 24. Forms are available online. A $100 late fee must accompany applications received later than that.

But Sept. 30 is the absolute cutoff date since recent changes in Fort Worth’s outdoor events ordinance require organizers to notify the city of expected attendance by the end of this month.

The standard entry fee is $50 but groups that meet certain eco-friendly standards qualify for a discounted fee of $35. Those groups must be in a hybrid vehicle or be a walking group and not distribute any items.

TCGPWA is sharing the national “One Heart, One World, One Pride” theme that Dallas is also using this year. One of the awards that will be presented after the parade is for the entry with the “best interpretation of the national theme.”

Other awards will be given for best performance, a “brothers and sisters” award for the best out-of-town entry and “vivaciously vivid” for best costume.

Pride Week ends on Oct. 10 with the Pride Picnic. Traditionally, that is the largest LGBT community event in Fort Worth.

Wasson said TCGPWA plans a bigger main stage with entertainment continuing non-stop from noon to 6 p.m. He said he expects everything from church choirs to a stomp group to perform.

“We’re adding a new area this year,” Coronado said. “In addition to the health and wellness area and family-friendly area we’ll have an arts and cultural area.”
Applications are available on the website.

The picnic takes place at Trinity Park near the 7th Street Pavilion.

The following day is National Coming Out Day.

QCinema plans to screen “Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride” at Four Day Weekend Theater on Oct. 4. Other Pride Week events are scheduled at Fort Worth’s bars.

For more information, visit TCGPWA.org

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens