Atlanta Pride mixes with NCAA title game

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Organizers of Atlanta Pride took advantage of the NCAA women’s national championship on Tuesday to host a viewing party and fund-raiser for the annual gay gathering, which is set for July 4-6.

More than five-dozen women filled the high-top tables and chairs of Midtown Tavern on Piedmont Avenue to watch Tennessee defeat Stanford for its second consecutive title. The crowd included a healthy dose of Volunteer orange.

“We have a really diverse crowd out here tonight,” Donna Narducci, Pride’s executive director, said Tuesday. “It’s important to have a place to come together.”

Narducci, who admitted to not being much of a basketball fan, did allow that she enjoyed the NCAA championships. She was, though, surrounded by serious basketball fans including Angela Mason, who attended the fund-raiser on the invitation of a friend.

“My family is from Tennessee originally,” Mason said. “It’s pretty amazing that [Tennessee coach] Pat Summit has seven championships.”

Cayenne Barnes arrived with a group of friends to watch the game and support Pride. The festival was booted from Piedmont Park earlier this year when the city of Atlanta put in place new restrictions related to the long-running drought. The event was moved to the Atlanta Civic Center, which also prompted a change from its traditional date in late June.

“We really came out to support the Pride committee,” Barnes said. “Everyone is so down on the civic center and they need to give it a chance. It’s no big secret that you have to take care of the park.”

Narducci said the viewing party raised a few hundred dollars for the festival.

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