We had originally planned on attending the Atlanta Pride Festival on Saturday afternoon before going to the local housefilk, but our new addiction scuttled those plans. We had, however, RSVPed to march with the Human Rights Campaign folks, so Sunday morning we got up early and drove down to the North Springs Marta station to take the train down to Civic Center, where the parade was to start.
I managed to drag myself out of bed at 9am, which was no mean feat since I’d been to bed at 3:30am. Got some breakfast and caffeine into me, and then got dressed. kitanzi wore her “Bi, Poly, and Picky” t-shirt (from Another Closet Creation, designed by blackfyr), while I, lacking anything quite as appropriate, wore my Queen of Wands “Read” shirt.
The e-mail I had gotten from the HRC coordinator had suggested people show up around 10:30 to help get the float together before the march, so we aimed for that, arriving a bit late at 11am. This turned out not to be a problem, since the truck had not arrived with all the materials necessary. We chatted with those folks who were there while waiting for it to arrive.
When it finally did, we set about nailing four large canvas photos to wooden frames. At long last, my long latent theatre training came back into use, and I wielded a hammer in the cause. When everything was properly set, we stood around and waited. And stood around. And waited. In truth, the parade got off at exactly 1pm, as scheduled, but we spent a lot longer just hanging out than I had anticipated.
The march was about two miles long, and mostly downhill. The day was overcast and breezy, with just enough sun to ensure the top of my head would have a slightly tender sunburn the next morning. Several of us had signs which read “George W. Bush: ‘You’re fired!'” These turned out to be insanely popular, and we gave away probably the entire flat of 1000 by the time we reached the other end of the route.
There were a few isolated religious protesters, but only one of them was obnoxious, and I didn’t see any sort of organized protest. I was very pleased to see churches along the route of the parade openly supporting the march, including St. Mark’s United Methodist church which not only had an entire contingent in the march, but also sported a rainbow banner on the front of their Gothic revival building on Peachtree Street. The nearby Episcopal church was also out on the sidewalk, handing out ice-cold water. There were a few families out on their front porches watching the march who looked like they didn’t quite know what to make of it, but by and large the crowd all along the route was supportive.
Just behind us were a girl dressed up as GWB in a wedding dress and a fellow in a Statue of Liberty outfit draped in a United States rainbow flag. Behind them was one of the local gay biker groups. There was a marching band who had been warming up in the parking lot behind where we were setting up, and I managed to capture a short movie clip of them performing the Wedding march, complete with the whole bridal half step walk. (Warning: 8mb download).
I had (obviously) brought along my camera, and took a number of photos of people along the route. I was very pleased with how well most of them came out, considering I was snapping them off while walking. I was hoping we might see some people we knew along the way, and I was very pleased to see drishnak and cougerpet, although i couldn’t do more than hug and wave before continuing on. I also saw Marie, who has attended several Atlanta housefilks, but I’m not sure if she spotted me.
We finally reached the end of the route and strolled for a few minutes through Atlanta’s beautiful Piedmont Park, debating whether to try and find a spot to camp and watch the rest of the parade go by. (Since were the 9th group out of some 145, most of the march was still behind us. We ultimately decided that we were tired and wanted to go home, so we trekked back up 10th Street to the MARTA station to take the train back to North Springs.
This turns out to have been exceedingly wise, as just moments after we reached the train station, the thunderstorms also reached downtown. By the time we got to North Springs, there was a torrential downpour, and I’m just as glad we didn’t have to stand in it. (I did get this nifty shot of the rain, though, so it wasn’t all bad. And all the plant life is looking very healthy these days.)
We were sore and tired when we got home, so we ordered some Chinese food, watched an episode of Blackadder, and then I hooked up with bedlamhouse on City of Heroes for a bit of team play. All in all, it was a wonderful day, and I look forward to doing it again next year.