imageMonths of anticipation and a week of LGBT people jumping on board in the name of Pride culminate at Friday’s Official Atlanta Pride Kickoff Party at the Georgia Aquarium.

World-renowned DJ Martin Fry (bottom photo) at the helm of the background beats is just the beginning of what the party has in store. This is a private event for Pride revelers and friends, so the general public will not be admitted. Guests will be treated to special after-hours viewings of all the aquarium’s wonders, and the venue’s “Wavy Wall” of moving water will bask in the glow of rainbow lights for photo opps. Special surprise guests are also on tap.

“The aquarium guys have really pulled out all the stops to make this a fabulous new event for Pride,” says J. Sheffield, Pride’s event manager. “I can’t wait, and we’re thrilled to be partnered with such an enthusiastic group of people.”

The admiration is mutual.

“We’re just so excited, and the feeling is starting to spread throughout the building,” says John Walker, the aquarium’s group sales senior manager. “With quite a few tickets sold, we know that this is going to be a really special night. We’re just so glad we decided to be a part of Pride and hope it’s a relationship that will last into the years.”

“Quite a few tickets sold” indeed. More than 1,600 people have already bought tickets, so an absolute blowout is already in the bag. Tickets are $17 in advance and still available for online purchase to last-minute procrastinators. If you decide to go on the fly, come on in for a $20 charge at the door.

Oh, and did we mention the cash bar for 21 and up? Yes, let’s not leave out the important details.

imageWe’re already envisioning ourselves exploring the entire Aquarium in the evening hours with dim lighting and grooving to DJ Fry (bottom photo). If you have guests from out of town, what better way to introduce them to one of Atlanta’s jewels than attend?

Costumes are encouraged, “especially with glitter,” Walker says. He also recommends “going green” and partying responsibly by carpooling or taxiing to the event. Parking at the Aquarium is $10 per car, so that’s advice well heeded. The party ends at 10:30 p.m., so there’s plenty of time to join even more revelers at your favorite nightspots.

Of course, a portion of the proceeds benefits Atlanta Pride, which by now everyone knows needs every penny in this tough economy to stage the annual festival.

Before the aquarium event, Pride thanks its donors, sponsors and partners early Friday evening at the annual invitation-only Atlanta Pride VIP Party at Hudson Grille Midtown. There’s still time to donate and get your invite.