HOUSTON VOICE www.houston voice.com
JUNE 27, 2003 3
Parade is Houston Pride highpoint
Largest crowd ever expected
to line up along Westheimer
to see marchers
By PENNY WEAVER
Celebrating 25 years of Gay Pride in
Houston culminates this weekend with the
infamous parade hosted by the Pride
Committee of Houston (PCOH).
Volunteers who have helped organize
the annual event are — to say the least —
"There's more than 100 floats, and
there's dignitaries and all that kind of
stuff." said Ryan Rice, PCOH public and
media relations director. "It's going to be
everything we've always had but more.
We're expecting over 200,000 people. We're
low-balling it with that.
"It's going to be such a big huge crowd
of diversity," he added.
The 2003 Houston Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual & Transgender Pride Parade
steps off at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, June 28.
Units in the parade must line up ahead of
time — at 6 p.m. for floats, 7 p.m. for vehicles, and 7:30 p.m. for walking units,
according to the Pride Committee. All
units must be in place and ready by 8 p.m.
The parade route (see map on page 5)
runs east on Westheimer Road from
Woodhead to Whitney. The main reviewing
stand will be along Westheimer at Lincoln.
In case of extreme weather, the parade
may be cancelled no later than 7 p.m.,
parade organizers note.
Highlights of this year's parade include
celebrities such as actor Robert Gant of
"Queer As Folk," who will ride on the
South Beach float, Rice noted. With 125
entries, the parade can't get any larger.
"We're tapped out. There's not much
longer we can make that parade," Rice
said. Future parades may have to be first-
come, first-served. [But] we haven't had to
tell anyone 'no' yet."
The number of entries must be limited
in order to control the time that the parade
takes, Rice explains. The fest must wrap up
by 11 p.m.
New surprises are in store for spectators this year.
"The chandelier's going to be neat,"
Rice said. "We have a 1,000-pound chandelier that's going to hang over Montrose and
Fireworks will be set off during the
parade march, and a pyrotechnics show
also will be offered near the main reviewing stand at Westheimer and Lincoln.
"The pyrotechnics show is totally new.
We spent a lot of time on that," Rice said.
"And there's individual performances that
break up some of the dead space in the
This year, organizers have arranged for
parade entries that include performances
to stop at several different locations along
the parade route so that more spectators
m J* •
9? $ i
Highlights of this weekend's Pride festivities include the second annual Pride Cabaret (see story, page 4) and, of course, Houston's infamous nighttime Pride Parade
(see parade route map, page 5; parade lineup, page 12). (Photos by Dalton DeHart)
can see the shows.
"Another really neat thing is going to be
the pre-parade concert," Rice said.
That performance runs from 6 to 8:15
p.m, Saturday and features Amber, who
will sing her top dance hits, "Above the
Louds", "Yes", and "Need to be Naked."
Also joining in the concert will be popular
local talent including the Gay Men's
Chorus, Nancy Ford and Kofi, among
The concert will be held at the
Budweiser Stage at Westheimer and
Since this is the 25th anniversary of the
parade, it is particularly special.
"It should be very silver because it's
our silver anniversary." Rice said. "We're
honoring all the past grand marshals. All
the living grand marshals are going to kick
off the parade."
The fun also will include vendor booths
on Yoakum Street in a street festival type
of atmosphere, according to Rice.
The entire spectacle takes hours upon
hours of volunteer work to achieve.
"The committee itself puts in so much
work throughout the entire year. As soon
as it's over we start again," Rice said. "It
should be a great show."
As in the past, Maria Todd of KRBE 104
and Ernie Manouse of Channel 8's weekday news will be announcing from the
judges' stand at Lincoln and Westheimer.
Parade judges this year are Carol
Wyatt, community activist; Brenda
Thomas, community activist; Jone Devlin,
QueerVoices host; Pamela Zager of Red
Bull; and Larry Bagneris, City of New
Orleans Human Rights Commissioner.
The parade prizes recognize the diversity of the entries as well, Christensen
noted. The Ruby Slipper Award goes to the
best walking unit, and the Gypsy Rose
Award is for the best out-of-town entry.
Awards named Edison and Rainbow Lights
are for lighting on non-professionally and
professionally built units, respectively, and
the Houston and Texas trophies go to non-
professionally built and professionally
built motorized units.
All entries are eligible for the Stonewall
and Spirit of Montrose honors.
Prizes will be awarded on Sunday as
Manouse and Gant help present trophies at
5 p.m. at O Houston, 710 Pacific.
MORE ON TAP
The parade is not the only entertainment this weekend. Last year's first and
successful Pride Cabaret returns Friday
night at Alley Theatre, featuring popular
local talents. Cost is $50, and the production kicks off at 8 p.m.
Also Friday night, the black-tie
Hispanic celebration Baile 2003 will be held
from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Radisson
Astrodome. The event, which costs $35 at
the door, raises funds to benefit gay groups.
Meteor hosts Steel Pride on Friday night
starting at 9 p.m. The Grey Party Inc. presents the night's party to announce Steel
Weekend, the group's new fall fund-raiser.
Also Friday night, gay Houstonians are
invited to join Q Patrol at 9:30 p.m. for a
special patrol through Montrose. The
group meets at the Houston GLBT
Community Center, 3400 Montrose, Suite
207. Q Patrol will host a special patrol on
Saturday night as well.
Rich's hosts the PCOH "Official Pre-
Parade Party" starting at 9 p.m. on Friday
night, with "Silver" as the theme. Special
guest performer will be Lady Bunny, and
the show being at 12:30 and 1:30 a.m. on the
main stage at Rich's.
Pride Committee of Houston
PO. Box 66071
Houston. TX 7726M071