Who do you want to lead Atlanta Pride’s parade?

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Before Atlanta Pride can put party, politics and purpose in Piedmont, all that is gay and good needs grand marshals for a fabulous parade. Here’s your chance to influence the 2015 grand marshal selections.

Pride opens its online nominations form to the public today, and anyone can submit names to be part of the process. Your nominee must be a Georgia resident, or an organization that is headquartered and based in Georgia, so no you can’t nominate Neil Patrick Harris.

Nominations remain open now through May 18. When your window of opportunity closes, the grand marshals will be chosen from the nominated suggestions by a vote of Atlanta Pride Committee members. The more the merrier, because you never know if they will choose one or two. Or six. Or seven. Or 120. Or like last year: three couples, nine individuals and two groups. It all depends on how they decide to work it and what you give them to work with.

“I encourage people from our LGBTQ and allied community to take a few minutes to think about the people and organizations in Atlanta and across Georgia who are doing important and life-changing work for our LGBTQ community,” Buck Cooke, the outgoing Atlanta Pride director, says in a prepared statement. “As always, we would like a diverse field of applicants again this year, so think about the activists, advocates, organization leaders, key volunteers, and others who work for LGBTQ equality and are doing things to push LGBTQ issues forward in our city and state.”

Negative Ninnies love to troll Atlanta Pride about every move they make. About the kick-off party. About hosting it in October. About entertainers. This is your chance to actually help rather than criticize.

Below is the full-throated announcement from Atlanta Pride, which also includes some housekeeping items about the dates of this year’s festival, as well as confirmation of some keystone annual events. #TLDR: Pride is coming Oct. 10-11!

ATLANTA PRIDE RELEASES JAM-PACKED ANNOUNCEMENT OF IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE 2015 ATLANTA PRIDE FESTIVAL

Atlanta, Georgia. – Atlanta Pride released a variety of information today about the upcoming 2015 Atlanta Pride Festival!  There will be much more information to be released later, but there is already a lot to know to make sure that YOU make the most out of your Atlanta Pride Festival weekend this year!

The 45th Annual Atlanta Pride Festival will take place October 10 & 11 in Piedmont Park.  Atlanta’s Pride is the largest Pride event in the southeastern US and the largest celebration held in conjunction with National Coming Out Day in the entire country.  Some highlights about the weekend’s festivities in and around the park are included the list below as well as information regarding this year’s open nomination period for parade Grand Marshals, which starts today!

•    Atlanta Pride Trans March at 1:45 p.m. on October 10

•    Atlanta Pride Dyke March at 6:00 p.m. on October 10

•    Atlanta Pride Parade at 1:00 p.m. on October 11

•    Two stages of entertainment

•    Over 200 market vendors

•    Programs for families and kids, youth, and seniors and elders

•    LGBTQ-welcoming college fair held in conjunction with Campus Pride

•    And More!

Atlanta Pride Executive Director, Buck Cooke, commented about the weekend, “This is a special year as we commemorate 45 years of Pride events occurring in Atlanta. While our festival and organization have changed a lot over the years, we are so thankful for our humble beginnings with a small group of activists passing out literature in Piedmont Park in the summer of 1970 and the movement that would grow and grow in Atlanta and around our state.”

Cooke continued,  “The festival is always lots of fun, but we are thrilled to have the Atlanta Pride Parade actually fall on National Coming Out Day this year. As the largest celebration of NCOD, Atlanta Pride will look for special ways to mark this occasion this year and we encourage everyone marching in the parade and watching the parade the celebrate being out at whatever level that is comfortable.”

The weekend’s events begin with the Official Kick-off Party at the Georgia Aquarium from 7-11:30p on Friday, October 9, 2015, with tickets going on sale in June.

For attendees who want to be close to the action all weekend, Atlanta Pride is pleased to announce the return of the W Atlanta Midtown as the Host hotel.  The special Atlanta Pride rate is now available by clicking here: https://atlantapride.org/pride/where-to-stay/

Cooke also offered up this teaser, “Our dedicated volunteers have been working diligently for months on the festival, so I hope everyone marks their calendars and comes together with family and friends to enjoy the festivities.  New for 2015 are the Family Zone for kids and their families and Gray Pride for seniors and elders in addition to our Youth Space, the Pride Marketplace, the car and motorcycle show, and more!”

Reflecting on all of the details, Cooke noted, “The Atlanta Pride Dyke March and the Atlanta Pride Trans March will both be back and we thank the community for the positive feedback we received on changes to both of those events last year. Once again, we will have hype people leading chants for both marches as well as music for the participants and spectators to enjoy as the marches go through the city. The Trans March will be in the street again this year and we were thrilled to see how the community embraced that event last year and made it our largest ever.”

He added, “We strive to offer a wide variety of programming, entertainers, market vendors, parade entries, and educational opportunities for everyone, so make sure you keep an eye on the festival schedule in the coming months to see what we have planned. We have some special treats in the works for you this year, so you won't want to miss out on anything this year.”

Finally, Atlanta Pride is excited to conduct the 2015 Grand Marshal open nomination session from today, April 23-May 18.  Some housekeeping items around this element include:

·       The number of Grand Marshals selected depends on the field of nominations

·       The Atlanta Pride Committee is solely responsible for the selection of the Grand Marshals

·       Individuals must reside in Georgia in order meet necessary criteria

·       Organizations must be headquartered and based in Georgia in order to be nominated

If you would like to nominate someone as Grand Marshal of the 2015 Atlanta Pride Parade, please go to: https://atlantapride.org/pride/parade/grand-marshals/

Cooke offered this thought about Grand Marshal Nominees, “I encourage people from our LGBTQ and allied community to take a few minutes to think about the people and organizations in Atlanta and across Georgia who are doing important and life-changing work for our LGBTQ community.”

He suggested, “Get together and brainstorm with some friends and make sure you have thorough nominations for the people and organizations you want to honor so our committee has plenty of good content to review. Simply writing 'I nominate Suzy because she is great!' doesn't give us much to work with.”

Cooke persisted, “As always, we would like a diverse field of applicants again this year, so think about the activists, advocates, organization leaders, key volunteers, and others who work for LGBTQ equality and are doing things to push LGBTQ issues forward in our city and state. There have been many outstanding examples of people and organizations fighting for our rights, so let's make sure they get nominated so we can give them the recognition they so richly deserve.”

# # #

About Atlanta Pride: The main purpose of the Atlanta Pride Committee (APC,) a 501 (c) 3 organization, is to promote unity, visibility and self-esteem among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and queer 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 and queer 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, transgender and queer persons, through community activities and services, including an annual Pride event.

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