35th annual Dallas Pride celebration includes Saturday festival, Sunday parade

David Taffet | Senior Staff Writer
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As Dallas Pride celebrates its 35th anniversary, Dallas gets ready to say farewell to Michael Doughman, the man who has been executive director for the Dallas Tavern Guild and Pride for the last 18 years, while at the same time looking toward the future with the newly announced executive director, Jaron Turnbow.

Although North Texas has gotten pretty well waterlogged over the last week or so, and the forecast includes continuing chances for more rain, Doughman said the party will go on, regardless.

“We’ve never canceled the parade or the festival, in all the years we’ve been doing this,” he said. “We’ve walked in the rain. We’ve festivaled in the rain. And anyway, according to every forecast I’ve seen, there’s only a 20-to-30 percent chance of showers this weekend, and in Dallas, we know how hit-and-miss that is.”

Doughman said organizers do have a Plan B in place in terms of the layout at Reverchon Park for the Miller Lite Music Festival there on Saturday, simply because some elements of the festival — like the big main stage, for example — are too heavy to put on the too-wet ground without causing permanent damage to the grass. But even if it is operating under Plan B, the festival will continue.

“Maybe a couple of minor things would have to be eliminated, but the food and beverages and vendors and the entertainment are designed to go, rain or shine,” Doughman said. “And the parade is the parade. It will happen. We have no intentions of cancelling. Everybody should just bring an umbrella and be prepared to have a good time.”

The Miller Lite Music Festival in the Park

Recording artist Thea Austin headlines the Main Stage lineup at the Miller Lite Music Festival in the Park, happening Saturday, Sept. 15, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.in Reverchon Park on Maple Avenue.

Austin, known for her mega-hit “Rhythm is a Dancer” and more, will appear on stage at 6:15 p.m., and her set — along with all the other entertainment — is included in the $10 admission ticket.

Local entertainers will perform on the Community Stage from noon-5 p.m., with DJs playing music between sets.

In addition to the music stages, the park will be filled with community and merchant vendor booths and pet adoptions. Two sections of the park will be set aside for The Family Pride Zone and Teen Pride.

Doughman said he expected to see about 12,000 people in the park for the festival.

The festival includes the Family Pride Zone, a special section set aside just for LGBT parents and their children up to age 13. The Family Pride Zone stage will feature a singing group of five very talented young adults called the Micro Chicks, billed as “the world’s most adorable group of singing divas,” and Dennis Lee, a family-oriented ventriloquist, comedian and musician. Wildlife on the Move will also be at the Family Pride Zone, teaching people of all ages the importance of conservation. They will bring with them a number of animals including reptiles, snakes and other critters that are sure to delight.

Rainbow Roundup’s Kimberley Cantor said her group will lead games throughout the afternoon. Ray Sablack, Dallas Public Library’s Grauwyler branch manager, said the library will be reading stories to children as well as doing crafts and other activities. Four bounce houses will be set up, and a train will circle the park. Face painters and balloon animal makers will keep the kids entertained all day.

The festival also again includes Teen Pride, a safe space for LGBT+ teens ages 13 to 19. Teen Pride is free for teens and $5 for adults accompanying teens.

It will include vendors, contests, bands, DJs and interactive booths.

Teen Pride Coordinator Amanda Robinson said there will be everything from bounce houses big enough for teens to specially-chosen entertainment. She said Kennedy Davenport from RuPaul’s Drag Race has been helping with planning for Teen Pride and will be there to perform and to spend time visiting with the teens in the park.

The Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade

Wayne Davis, left, and The Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas

The 35th annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade steps off at 2 p.m., following its usual route down Cedar Springs Road, from Wycliff Avenue to Turtle Creek Boulevard. The last of the 135 entries should cross Oak Lawn Avenue by 4:30 p.m., according to the parade permit.

Wayne Davis, best known for his community fundraising with Dallas Bears, and the Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas, senior pastor of Cathedral of Hope, are this year’s grand marshals. Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley, who created the NoH8 photo campaign, are honorary grand marshals.

Doughman said because of interest in the upcoming election that has energized the LGBT community, he expects attendance to be up this year to around 50,000 people. He said a record number of individuals and groups will be doing voter registration throughout the weekend.

Parade-goers and participants will be protected by 120 police officers.

New corporate sponsors for the parade this year include the Dallas Mavericks, Thompson Reuters and Walmart. Each sponsor will have an entry in the parade, as will at least a dozen new groups and organizations.

While the festival needs about 120 volunteers, the parade uses about 60 volunteers. In addition to putting out trash boxes and liners along the parade route and setting up barricades the length of the parade, others will feed parade entries onto Cedar Springs Road that are lined up on either side Wycliff Avenue and then direct entries where to go when they hit Turtle Creek Boulevard.

In case you need a restroom, head over to Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, which will be open for bathroom breaks and offering water as relief from the usual September heat.

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Miller Lite Music Festival

Main Stage Schedule:
11 a.m.-noon: House Music
Noon-1 p.m.: DJ Deanne
1 -1:30 p.m.: 2018 Voice of Pride Winners
1:30-2:30 p.m.: DJ Deanne
2:30-3:30 p.m.: The Rose Room Cast
3:30-4 p.m.: Asia O’Hara and Dancers
4-5p.m.: DJ Deanne
5-5:30 p.m.: Effie Passero
5:30-6:15 p.m.: David Hernandez
6:15-7 p.m.: Thea Austin

Community Stage Schedule:
11 a.m.-noon: DJ
Noon-12:20 p.m.: Nicole Abeth
12:20-12:35 p.m.: DJ
12:35-12:55 p.m.: Cleremiah Boswell
12:55-1:20 p.m.: DJ
1:20-1:40 p.m.: Skinny Cooks
1:40-2:05 p.m.: DJ
2:05-2:35 p.m.: The Roommates
2:35-2:55 p.m.: DJ
2:55-3:20 p.m.: DTNS
3:20-3:45 p.m.: DJ
3:45-4:15 p.m.: PriMaddona
4:15-4:40 p.m.: DJ
4:40-5 p.m.: Hailey Good

Family Pride Zone Schedule:
Noon-1 p.m.: Micro Chicks
1 p.m.: Wildlife on the Move
2 p.m.: Dennis Lee
3-4 p.m.: Micro Chicks
4 p.m.: Wildlife on the Move
5 p.m.: Dennis Lee

Teen Pride Schedule
12:30 p.m.: Dance competition
1-1:30 p.m.: Alsacecapone
1:30-2 p.m.: Meshia Brown, Elliott Puckett
2-2:45 p.m.: Hake Sak Competition
2:45-3 p.m.: Sponsorship introduction
3 p.m.: Teen Pride drag entertainment
4:45-5:15 p.m.: Hula Hoop competition
5:30-6:30 p.m.: Rock bands

Parade Schedule
2-4:30 p.m. along Cedar Spring Road
from Wycliff Ave. to Turtle Creek Blvd.

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Shooting for NOH8
Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley, founders of the NOH8 Campaign, are not only honorary grand marshal for the 35th annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade on Sunday, Sept. 16, they are also helping North Texans celebrate Pride by bringing their NOH8 photoshoot back to Big D.

Bouska and Parshley will hold an open NOH8 shoot from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway. Get details on Facebook (search for NOH8 Dallas).

— Tammye Nash