imageAfter a well-attended event last year that put Atlanta Pride back on steady financial footing, the 2011 Atlanta Pride Festival in Piedmont Park will keep its slot on the second weekend of October, organizers announced Monday.

The Oct. 8-9 park festival is slated to take advantage of the seasonal weather and being near big annual events like National Coming Out Day, Out On Film, AIDS Walk & 5K Run, and ALHI’s Garden Party.

“Being near established queer events made a difference for people,” says JP Sheffield, executive director of Atlanta Pride. “Last year was the best weather we’ve ever had, and that plays such a huge role when you’re doing an outdoor event.

“We got a lot of really great feedback from folks, attendance was excellent, and it was the most financially successful year in the history of the organization,” Sheffield continues.

Opening festivities are set for Oct. 7 at the Georgia Aquarium, repeating a popular event that debuted in 2009 and saw another capacity crowd last year.

Pride will also again organize a slate of events in June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. That series of events proved popular the last two years as Pride enthusiasts waited for the weekend festival in October.

The full statement from the Atlanta Pride Committee and its partners at Q&A Events:

2011 ATLANTA PRIDE FESTIVAL SCHEDULED FOR NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY WEEKEND

Atlanta, Georgia. – The Atlanta Pride Committee (APC) is pleased to announce that the Atlanta Pride Festival will be returning to Piedmont Park in 2011. The Southeast’s largest Pride Festival will be hosted October 8-9, which coincides with National Coming Out Day.

“2010 was a tremendous year for APC and we are looking forward to building on those successes in 2011,” said James Parker Sheffield, Atlanta Pride Executive Director. APC views a consistent event timeframe and location as being key to continuing that success. “Having a consistent event timeframe will allow APC and community members, organizations and businesses to create continuity in their own planning leading up to Pride,” said Sheffield.

The Atlanta Pride Festival is currently the largest event in the United State to coincide with National Coming Out Day, which is observed on October 11th. Other established community events that take place around the same timeframe include The ALHI Garden Party, Out on Film and the Atlanta AIDS Walk.

Leading up to The Atlanta Pride Festival, APC will be organizing events and activities throughout 2011 to build enthusiasm for the festival, including special events during the month of June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Partnerships with the Georgia Aquarium and Chris Coleman Enterprises, for the Kickoff Party and the Closing Party respectively, will continue as a part of the 2011 Pride celebrations. A full schedule of programming and parties is still being developed for Atlanta Pride Week. For updates and information about events throughout the year, please visit AtlantaPride.org.

About Atlanta Pride: The main purpose of the APC is to promote unity, visibility and self esteem among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons and to promote a positive image in the Atlanta area and throughout the Southeastern United States through community activities and services.

The main mission of the APC is to provide lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons with cultural and educational programs and activities which enhance mental and physical health, provide social support, and foster an awareness of the past and present contributions of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons, through community activities and services, including an annual Pride event.