Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 1:09 p.m.
Gainesville’s annual Pride Parade and Festival invites people to come out for events celebrating the LGBTQ community and open to everyone on Saturday.
Singers perform during the 2012 Pride Parade and Festival. The 2013 events begin with the parade at noon Saturday followed by the festival at Bo Diddley Community Plaza at 1 p.m.
Matt Stamey/Staff photographer/file
The Pride Parade begins Saturday at noon, starting at Seventh Street and West University Avenue and marching down before ending at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza, said Terry Fleming, co-president of the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida.
Following the parade at 1 p.m. is the free Pride Festival, which is themed “Come Out As You Are.” Vendors and groups will set up at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. At press time, 100 vendors had signed up, but Fleming said he anticipates many more sign-ups by Saturday.
About 5,000 people are expected to attend the parade and the festival, but Fleming encourages more to participate. “This festival is not just for the gay and lesbian community,” he said. “It’s for the community at large.”
On hand at the plaza will be nonprofit organizations, commercial and product vendors and groups from the University of Florida to educate attendees on different programs at the school and many others.
Although the festival takes place in Gainesville, many vendors and groups come from out of town, including such areas as Kissimmee, Boca Raton and Jacksonville, Fleming added.
Also starting at 1 p.m. will be as many as 15 musical performances, with opening numbers from Slash Silver Moon and The Blue Sisters. A drag show will take the stage before the festival ends at 9 p.m. Fleming said.
This year, the center is in collaboration with Equality Florida in the effort to obtain marriage equality in the Sunshine State, Fleming said. A booth at the festival will provide more information, he said.