“It Only Gets Better” will be the theme of this year’s 2011 Dallas Pride Parade and Festival. The annual festival which will highlight the future of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, will take place on September 18, 2011. Ben Cohen and Joel Burns are among the luminaries scheduled to appear at the 2011 Dallas Pride celebration.
“Dallas’ rich diversity is evident in its residents, neighborhoods and even visitor attractions,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. “In addition to the many LGBT pride events taking place across the city in September, visitors will also enjoy great weather, world class arts, the best shopping in the Southwest, a vibrant culinary scene and exciting nightlife.”
The highlight of Dallas Pride weekend is the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. Now in its 28th year, the parade is expected to draw more than 40,000 spectators from across the nation and around the world. Immediately following the parade will be the Pride Festival at Lee Park.
Like many gay pride celebrations, Dallas Pride can trace its roots back to the late 1970s when up to 300 men and women marched through downtown Dallas waving flags and shouting gay rights slogans. The Dallas Tavern Guild adopted the parade from volunteers in 1982 and named it the Texas Freedom Parade in 1983. The organization remains committed to making the celebration grow in size and to support its beneficiaries, which consist of local LGBT nonprofit organizations.
This year’s local grand marshals include Chris Bengston of Caven Enterprises, and Gary Miller and Alan Pierce of The Round-up Saloon. Joel Burns, the Fort Worth city councilman who made headlines last year with his public speech to LGBT youth, will be the honorary grand marshal. English rugby star and straight ally, Ben Cohen, will be the special VIP guest.
The parade and festival will take place in Oak Lawn, the epicenter of Dallas’ LGBT community. Beginning at 2 p.m. at the corner of Wycliff Ave. and Cedar Springs Rd., the parade will march down Cedar Springs to Turtle Creek Blvd., concluding at Robert E. Lee Park. The celebration will continue at Lee Park with a festival that will include live entertainment, vendor booths, and much more. Admission to the festival will be $5 per person.
For more information on the parade and festival, and for a schedule of official events, please visit www.dallasprideparade.com. To learn more about Dallas’ LGBT community and to book a trip, please visit www.glbtdallas.com.