Since the 1990s, Tallahassee has had LGBT pride events in some form or fashion.
However, it was not until 2008 that The Family Tree, the city’s lone LGBT community center, made it a weeklong celebration.
“It is an important event because it sheds light on a community that the bigger community might not notice,” said Partick Patterson, co-chair of the planning committee for PRIDEFEST. “It is a good time where you can be who you are with no fear of aggression.”
The Tallahassee PRIDEFEST 2011 is underway. The weeklong activities started with an alternative prom hosted by FSU PRIDE at the Oglesby Union at FSU on Friday. Then there was a reception on Saturday at Vintage Bistro and Bar and party at the nightclub Paradigm.
On Sunday, at Kleman Plaza in downtown, PRIDEFEST hosted “Colors of Faith: An Interfaith Celebration of Pride.” For the third year in a row, local churches gathered to offer an interfaith service for PRIDEFEST. Temple Israel, St. Johns Episcopal Church, and Unitarian Universalist Church of Tallahassee are some of the churches that participated.
As the week continues, The Family Tree will offer daily events. “Brushed IV: An Exhibition of Pride” will be April 11 at Lee’s Wine Bar at 7 p.m. On April 12, at Ray’s Steel City Saloon, is “Quill IV: A Night of LGBT Literature” starting at 7 p.m. Tallahassee Little Theatre will present “Cabaret” on April 13, special for PRIDEFEST, doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased online. “Girls Rock!,” a night to celebrate Tallahassee women, will be April 14 at The Warehouse at 706 W.Gaines St.
FAMU PRIDE will celebrate on April 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on The Set and in The Rattler’s Den on campus. “Menace Beach – Pride Edition” will be held at The Engine Room from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
PRIDEFEST’s main event will be Saturday, April 16, 2011, “Pride in the Plaza” will be an all-day event. There will be food and business vendors and a main stage with a mix of DJ and live music. Also, there is a Kids Zone with jump-house and kid-friendly activities throughout the day. The official after party of PRIDE will be hosted in Kleman Plaza.
The Family Tree is also hosting a food drive for nonperishable goods and food items at all of the activities this year.
“I think it offers members and supporters of the community a chance to unite, come together and get together outside of a bar,” said Steven Hall, chair of The Family Tree, about PRIDEFEST. “It also gives others a chance to realize who we are and educate themselves.”