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What to Expect at Your First Gay Pride Celebration
Gay Pride Parade
I've been attending the Indy Pride Festival since I was eighteen, so almost a decade now. The festivities start about a week before the actual festival with lots of fun events at local bars, parks and even a few gay friendly churches. The Indy Pride parade and Festival are always held on the second Saturday in June. The parade starts on the corner of College and Massachusetts Avenue, downtown Indianapolis. If you're new to the gay scene then you're in for a treat. Thousands of people show up for these events every year and every year it's at least 90 degrees out which means no one is wearing very many clothes. The parade consists of LGBT organizations from all over the country, gay-supportive businesses and politicians, gay marching bands, drag queens, car and motorcycle clubs, and much much more. One of the big promotions throughout Indy Pride is safe sex so it's not just candy being thrown from the floats, but also condoms and safe sex kits. Also be prepared for lots and lots of techno music because that's mostly what is played, very loudly, throughout the parade and festival.
The Indy Pride Festival is held at one of the large parks downtown, just a few miles from the start of the parade. There are always protesters right outside the festival, carrying hate-filled picket signs (often grammatically incorrect which makes me laugh). There's also usually some preacher on a soap box, condemning all the festival-goers to Hell. Thankfully, once you're through the gates of the festival you can no longer hear their idiotic ramblings thanks to the blaring techno music I mentioned earlier. The festival grounds consist of a large stage for live music and guest speakers and all around are booths providing information on products and services and in some cases showcasing the products themselves. It's really not that much different than any other downtown festival other than same sex couples holding hands, the excessive amount of rainbows on clothing and other items, and the amount of condoms available. The food is still overpriced (I suggest you pack a lunch), people are still enjoying the day out with their families, and people even bring their pets of all shapes and sizes. I haven't been to any festivals outside of Indy but I hear they're pretty much the same only bigger in some cases. Indy Pride continues to grow, though, and I look forward to the day that the protesters join in on the fun!