This past weekend I went up to Harrisburg, PA to visit with my friend Fred who moved up there recently. It was also their Central PA (Harrisburg) Pride Parade and Festival. They had a Pride Festival last year, but this year was their first ever Pride Parade/March. I have the pictures uploaded to my photo gallery at http://budcub.smugmug.com/gallery/1725660 You can look at them there, or go below the cut to see a few here and read more about it.
The parade started at 10:00am on Saturday morning. Who starts a Pride Parade at 10:00am on a Saturday? Back when DC used to start theirs at noon even that was ambitious, with many of us stumbling our hung-over asses down to Dupont Circle to get there on time. Their reasoning for starting so early had to do with getting permits to march, it wasn't easy. My friend Fred marched with the contingent from The Brownstone, a awesome neighborhood bar. We were there the night before and Fred introduced me to the owner, staff, and a few other people.
Here is a picture of my friend Fred and his dog Chloe (half Jack Russell Terrier half rat terrier mix):
These guys were unaware I was taking their picture, until my flash went off. I went up and introduced myself, and I promised I'd email when I got the pic up on the web:
A hot biker:
I was impressed by the number of interesting classic cars in the parade.
I could tell this guy was a politician by looking at him. You can't see it in the picture, but he had a bodyguard with him. A bodyguard? Hmmm interesting. I asked a woman standing next to me who he was and she didn't know either. Only later did I find out it was Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. I wish I had gotten a better picture of him. I was glad to see him marching. When I spoke to Fred about it he was very gladdened too.
Before the start of the parade, we were warned about protesters. Protesters? How exciting. DC never got protesters as far as I can remember. We'd get the occasional messed up homeless person stagger in the way of the parade but they'd stagger out before anything would happen. I remember one year while marching with DCBC, this one (drunk?) homeless guy staggered up to us and said, "Mumble, mumble, mumble, bears, mumble, mumble". Whatever he was saying was unintelligible, except I recognized the word bears. It was more amusing than anything else.
Harrisburg was a bit different. These protesters weren't escapees from St. Elizabeth's, they were pretty vocal, and persistent. We were told to ignore them, and avoid confrontation. That's probably the best thing to do. A few people tried to argue a bit but it was really a waste of time with these people. What surprised me was their unrelenting nature. It was a very hot day, and they were mostly in the sun along the sidelines, and they protested the entire day. It had to be exhausting but they wouldn't give up. Here are a few pics:
I don't know if you can see it in this following picture but the guy is reading from Genesis about the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah:
The organizers of the parade/festival had people with large rainbow colored umbrellas stand at strategic points to try and block the worst of their ranting and raving. I quickly learned to ignore them. Fred's new apartment is directly across the street from the festival and we could hear them from up there. By the end of the day there was one handful of protesters, and they were starting to make me a bit nervous, but the organizers were keeping a careful watch on them. They had screamed themselves almost hoarse, and I could see they had sunburn from being in the heat and sun the whole day, and they looked like they would either spontaneously combust, or just snap and do something crazy. They finally went on their way.
Here's something more pleasant to look at. Mushrooms!
Some of you may remember back in the spring of 2000 when Sam Schwartz met a young guy at the beach who had just come out and was having a tough time from his family. Sam invited him to DC to visit and he hosted a cocktail party at his condo to introduce him to the GenXDC crowd and to help guide him on his way to being a well adjusted gay man. Well, he was there at the Pride Festival. I thought he looked familiar but I figured he was a guy I'd met at Hillside. He recognized me first and brought up how we met. He wanted me to send a big hello out to Aaron & Vern, Bearnaked Joe, and Omar, the people he remembers best from that brief meeting. He's Frank, he's the guy on the left in the picture below:
Later that night Fred and I went to a party hosted by CutePACub. Hi John! A big public Thank you for having us over, we had fun. Saw some people I hadn't seen in a long time. After the party Fred and I went to the Brownstone for a few drinks before heading back home. Oh, and here's me and the doorman from the Brownstone. Its not a great picture of me, but...