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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
“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.