In past years, the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade has had to be capped at 100 paid entries due to restrictions caused by city regulations, such as how long the streets could be shut down for the parade. This year, with the parade being held entirely within Fair Park, there is no limit on the number of entries.
Plans coming together quickly for Dallas Pride 2019 weekend
Tammye Nash | Managing Editor
With only 15 weeks before Dallas Pride 2019 begins, organizers are working to get everything finished on time, Dallas Pride Executive Director Jaron Turnbow said this week.
“Right now, we are still getting all the nuts and bolts of the new venue in place,” Turnbow declared. “There’s so much more going on this year, and we have to get it all done sooner than before.”
Dallas Pride 2019 has been moved up three and a half months to June 1-2, and all the events have been moved across town to Fair Park. The Miller Lite Music Festival in Fair Park, including the Family Pride Zone and Teen Pride, will be held Saturday, June 1, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the Esplanade and in the Centennial Building.
The Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade steps off at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, also inside Fair Park.
Organizers this week announced the 2019 Pride theme — Stonewall Strong, Dallas Proud — honoring both the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, known as the birth of the modern LGBT rights movement, coming up June 29, and Dallas Pride’s new beginning. Not only is Pride moving to a new venue this year, Turnbow said, Dallas Tavern Guild, which has organized and presented the Pride parade in Dallas since 1984, has officially handed over control to Dallas Pride, which is now its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Organizers are already accepting applications for beneficiaries for Pride 2019, Turnbow said, and applications and more information are available online at DallasPride.org.
Nominations for grand marshals for Pride 2019 open online at the Dallas Pride website on March 1 and will remain open through March 22. Once the nominees are set,
Turnbow said, voting will take place March 25-April 19
The Pride committee also began accepting applications last month for festival vendors and for parade entries, Turnbow said, and those applications will likely be accepted through the end of April.
So far, he said, the committee has received festival vendor applications from 60 different organizations or businesses. Some of those have applied for two or three spaces, and festival sponsors will get vendor spaces as well.
“Before [in Oak Lawn Park and later in Reverchon Park], we had limited space for vendors. Now, we have the room and we can add more areas of the park if we need to,” Turnbow said. “If we had 400 vendors, we could make that work. It would cost us to add more space, but we can do it.”
The same goes for the parade, he continued. In previous years, the parade was capped at about 100 entries, not counting grand marshals and other committee-sponsored entries, because of time restrictions enforced by the city. This year, there is no limit on the number of entries.
“Last year, it took us almost four months to reach the limit on parade entries. Applications have only been open a month, and already we have 96 entries,” Turnbow said. “And we don’t have to stop at 100, which is good, because interest has increased significantly this year.”
Turnbow said there will be a mandatory meeting for parade entrants on May 11,
While organizers already have the parade route “nailed down,” Turnbow said, they are waiting for final approval from Spectra, the private company that manages Fair Park now for the city. “We will release the map of the parade route as soon as it is approved, but we can say for sure that the Court of Honor, at the end of the Esplanade between the Hall of State and the Centennial Building, will be the midway point of the parade route,” he said.
“If this were a normal year,” Turnbow continued, “we’d already have maps made and ready. But with all the changes this year for Dallas Pride, and for Fair Park, too, it’s a little bit slower process. I mean, it’s a new venue, new rules — new everything.”
Pride Coordinator Truett Calvert, who is in charge of volunteers, said volunteer applications go live on the Dallas Pride website on Monday, Feb. 18, and will remain open through May, and he is hoping to have more volunteers than ever before.
“In the past, our volunteers have just assisted with set up in the park and with various other duties on Saturday during the festival. This year, however, I am asking for volunteers for Saturday during the festival, but also on Sunday for the parade,” Calvert said.
Volunteer duties typically consist of helping vendors find their booth space, being visible during the event to answer questions or help attendees find the various vendors or get to specific events happening during the festival. Volunteers also help out with the Family Pride Zone and with Teen Pride.
This year, Calvert noted, Sunday volunteers will be asked to help get the parade route ready, help in staging the floats and help with the flow of the parade through the park.
“I encourage anyone who is interested to sign up as a volunteer,” Calvert said. “I have families, couples, community allies, parents — anyone who is interested in helping — that sign up to volunteer, and everyone is welcome.”
There will be a volunteer meeting on May 11, from noon to 2 p.m. in the Rose Room, inside S4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. Calvert said he will probably try to have a walk-through at Fair Park for volunteers closer to the date for Pride weekend.
Applications for beneficiaries, parade entries and vendors and to sign up as a volunteer are all available now at DallasPride.org. Grand marshal nominations open March 1, also online at DallasPride.org. Visit the website for more information.