ATLANTA — It’s Pride Month in Atlanta and across the country, but a bout with dry weather is why our city’s big celebration doesn't take place until the fall.
Several June events in Atlanta honor historic milestones in the LGBTQ community. June is Pride Month to coincide with the anniversary of the Stonewall riots when activists and police clashed in New York. The 1969 events accelerated the push for LGBTQ rights.
For decades, Atlanta’s biggest pride events were held in June in Piedmont Park.
Then came 2008.
“Several of us had to make a change that year,” said Atlanta Pride Executive Director Jamie Ferguson. “Some of us have kept our changes, some of us haven’t.”
Georgia faced a devastating drought in 2008. Water levels at Lake Lanier plummeted. The drought impacted Piedmont Park, limiting events in areas damaged by the dry weather.
Atlanta Pride searched for a new home, first trying a different location on the 4th of July, then moving back to the park on Halloween the next year.
Ferguson said the Halloween date didn’t work out.
“I think there’s just a lot of festivities and parades,” said Ferguson. “To mash them all together was a little chaotic.”
Organizers liked October enough that Pride events moved to the second weekend of the month to coincide with National Coming Out Day.
“We’ve had better weather, we’ve had better attendance,” said Ferguson. “It’s been a successful move for us.”
Ferguson said that while there are some who would love to see Atlanta’s Pride events move back to June, most are happy with October.
“We do this work all year,” said Ferguson. “Pride is every single day for us.”
Black Pride events in Atlanta take place during the Labor Day weekend.