Nipplelicious Atlanta Pride Hunk

Cue the critics: Atlanta Pride returns to Piedmont Park in October and they’ll again toast their VIPs and party it up with the critters of the Georgia Aquarium, too. So take that, Jane Lynch.

Atlanta Pride announced Thursday that the 43rd annual weekend of partying, celebrating and mismatched rural queens in jean shorts is set for Oct. 12-13 inside Piedmont Park to again coincide with National Coming Out Day. The weekend includes Pride’s Official Kick-off Parry at the aquarium on Oct. 11.

“Planning for the 2013 festival began six months ago and we are, of course, always thrilled to return to Piedmont Park,” Cooke said in a prepared statement. “National Coming Out Day continues to be a great fit for our festival and we are excited to have the Official Kick-off Party at the Georgia Aquarium occur on this very important date.”

Lynch joined with PETA last year to criticize Pride hosting its VIP reception and launch party at the aquarium. They argued that the party’s loud music and noise would disturb the captive animals and asked that the sold-out event (view pics) be moved to another venue. Pride didn’t budge.

The fall dates for Pride, which the festival shifted to in 2009, also draw critics who want the festival to return to late June. That’s when Pride hosts an ever-expanding slate of events commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which are considered the launch of the modern-day gay rights movement.

Pride’s announcement didn’t hint at any big-name performers in the works for the 2013 festival. But applications are open for entertainers to apply online to be included in the lineup.