The Fourth Annual South Georgia Pride Festival will see the event grow from its origins as a one-day event to a full weekend of activities later this month.
The main festival is still scheduled for a Saturday, 12-7 p.m., Sept. 21, John H. Saunders Park on River Street, but the festival will also include a performance of the reader’s theatre piece “The Laramie Project,” 7-10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Hildegard’s, 101 E. Central Ave., directed by Jeremy Williams, says festival organizer Raynae Jones. Admission will be $10.
On Saturday night, there will be a post-festival gathering at Glo Ultra Lounge, 115 N. Patterson St. At 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, an Interfaith Pride service will be held, Unitarian Universalist Church of Valdosta, 1951 E. Park Ave.
While the festival has extended to a three-day event with multiple locations, the mission remains the same: an event that celebrates the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Tolerance and community are the overriding principles of the festival.
This year’s theme: Pride Without Limits.
Last year, 1,200 people attended the event. Jones says organizers hope the festival continues to grow.
For the main festival of events on Sept. 21, visitors can expect:
— The return of Elke Kennedy of Sean’s Last Wish. Kennedy is the mother of Sean Kennedy, a gay man beaten to death in May 2007 as he left a Greenville, S.C., establishment. Through Sean’s Last Wish, Elke Kennedy travels the nation sharing the story of losing her son and she regularly ministers to young people estranged from their families because of their sexuality. She shares a message of tolerance.
— Stacy Layne Matthews from season three of television’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
— Augusta-based band She and She; area rap artist Ro; drag queens Raquel Payne, Samantha Fox and Akasha Videlle; male illusionist Spikey Van Dykey; Monroe Von Mayhem perform.
— Speakers will include Christine A. James with the Valdosta State University Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies speaking on the public policy and civil rights implications of recent developments for LGBT community.
— HIV testing will be available.
— For children, there will be bounce houses and other activities.
Event sponsors are Sam’s Club, Glo Ultra Lounge, and Courtyard by Marriott.
More information: Visit South Georgia Pride, Inc. on Facebook.