by: Meriel O’Connell
This Saturday marks the twenty-eighth year of the Pride Parade here in Durham. As one of the most notable annual celebrations on the streets of downtown, the Pride Parade has accumulated a critical mass of attendees, and the numbers keep soaring through the years. The audience is as diverse as our community ranging from those who identify themselves as part of the LGBT community to those who consider themselves allies to residents and on-lookers, young and old, of all different colors.
This year’s Pride Parade is particularly important for me, because my school, Durham Academy, is allotted a spot to march in the parade. We, along with all the other supporting schools, organizations, and people waving from grandiose floats, will be striding along Duke East Campus, starting on Campus Drive and making our way around Main, Broad, Green, and Ninth streets.
As well as marching and cheering, there will be multiple stands and tables set up lining the avenues selling pride-themed goods (I always make sure to pick up a few multi-colored beads). Additionally, more festivities will take place throughout the week — not just the parade. Today, there will be a Pride Crawl on Ninth Street at 6pm, a Pre-Pride Outdoor Dinner at Alivia’s and Happy Hour at West End Wine Bar at 7pm, a free outdoor showing of the Full Frame Film, The Case Against 8, at Durham Central Park at 8:30 pm, and the ‘All White Party’ at The Bar along with the ‘DurtyQueer Dance Party’ at the Pinhook from 10pm-2am. The majority of Saturday’s activities will be focused around the actual Pride Parade at Duke’s East Campus starting at 1pm and a ‘MEGA Block Party’ on Rigsbee Avenue at 3pm, however during the night, there will also be an outdoor dinner at Alivia’s at 6pm, a Happy Hour at 7pm at West End Wine Bar, a fire show at The Bar from 7pm-4am, a ‘Pride Outdoors at Night’ party at the Pinhook from 7pm-4am, a Triangle & Triad Men’s Chorus Concert at St. Luke’s Johnson Hall at 8pm, and a ‘Shut Up and Dance party’ at Motorco from 9pm-2am. To finish off the bustling weekend, there will be a brunch at Alivia’s Bistro from 10am-3pm, a ‘Pride Lunch and Hangout’ at Madhatter’s at 1:15pm, a ‘Drag Brunch and Bingo’ at The Bar at 2pm, a ‘Tea Dance Day Party’ at Social from 2-6pm, and a final dinner at Aliva’s from 6-10pm.
I am confident in saying that this year’s NC Pride festivities will be one of the most incredible and alluring events that Durham has hosted since its beginning in 1981. The amount of celebrations over the course of the week has only grown, making it open to a wider range of people and increasing the number of attendees. Durham’s widespread acceptance for all people is worth recognizing, noting, and celebrating. The Pride Parade is a perfect outlet to showcase our support for each other; no matter who we are or where we come from.