Out-of-town­ers guide to At­lanta Pride

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It’s that time of year again where I get to see the com­mu­nity that has em­braced me for the last four years come to­gether and cel­e­brate di­ver­sity, equal­ity and love. For me it’s one of the busiest week­ends of the year, but it is also one of my fa­vorite week­ends.

Since I moved here, I have been work­ing hard to be part of our LGBT+ com­mu­nity and make my own mark, ei­ther through pho­to­graphs, events, fundrais­ers, drag or just by net­work­ing. Dur­ing Pride, I get to be part of many events that I en­joy and in a blink of an eye the week­end is gone and some­times I’ve asked my­self, “Where did the Pride week­end go?”

There are a quite a few things that I am def­i­nitely ex­cited to be part of this year! If you’re new in town, vis­it­ing or just one of the lo­cals, by now you have heard about the Of­fi­cial At­lanta Pride Kick­off hosted by the Ge­or­gia Aquar­ium. This is by far my fa­vorite event of the year; the whole Aquar­ium be­comes a party of your clos­est 4,000 friends. It’s the one time a year I see most of my friends from all around the coun­try in one space. The en­ergy is in­de­scrib­able, the peo­ple be­hind this party make sure that ev­ery­thing runs per­fectly and the am­biance is set for you to have an amaz­ing week­end. The great­est thing for me about this event is that you never know who you will see in the crowd, from busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives, politi­cians, artists, your fa­vorite lo­cal drag queen/king or even a queen from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Once the party is over at the Aquar­ium, your choices to keep on cel­e­brat­ing are re­ally end­less through­out the week­end. It is al­most like the city has mul­ti­ple heart­beats around town dur­ing Pride. The at­mos­phere that you’re search­ing for will de­ter­mine which area of town you will want to go to.

Most peo­ple tend to go to the heart of our gay district which is 10th & Pied­mont in Mid­town At­lanta, where your choices are quite vast, from Blake’s on the Park, Ten, Bull­dogs or Joe’s on Ju­niper. If Mid­town is “Just like the Aquar­ium Party, thou­sands of peo­ple gather to watch the At­lanta Pride pa­rade, and then head over to the park to en­joy all the fes­tiv­i­ties that the At­lanta Pride Com­mit­tee has planned all through­out the year, fin­ish­ing off with the leg­endary Starlight Cabaret Show.” not your scene, the Ans­ley Mall area might in­ter­est you with bars like the Hideaway, Felix’s, Os­car’s or Burkhart’s, where you could en­joy the per­for­mances of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” con­tes­tants Phoenix and Aja all within walk­ing dis­tance. In my case, I will end up go­ing to the Cheshire Bridge Road area, where you can find me tak­ing your pic­tures at the Heretic.

When the de­sire arises, I’ll walk over to Jun­gle to lis­ten to their beats or to see some of my fa­vorite drag queens from The Other Show, or I might pop into an Uber and head to the At­lanta Ea­gle. The best thing to do is plan ac­cord­ingly so that you may ex­pe­ri­ence all th­ese fine es­tab­lish­ments in one week­end!

Sun­day is by far my fa­vorite day. Just like the Aquar­ium Party, thou­sands of peo­ple gather to watch the At­lanta Pride pa­rade and then head over to the park to en­joy all the fes­tiv­i­ties that the At­lanta Pride Com­mit­tee has planned all through­out the year, and fin­ish off with the leg­endary Starlight Cabaret Show. If this is your first Pride or you’re just en­joy­ing an­other At­lanta Pride, one big piece of ad­vice is to stay hy­drated be­cause At­lanta Pride is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Just Toby is an award-win­ning At­lantabased pho­tog­ra­pher, pro­moter and so­cial me­dia man­ager who in­dulges in drag queens, food, lo­cal es­tab­lish­ments and shiny things.

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