Augusta Pride this weekend expecting large turnout

News 12 @ 6 o'clock/ Friday, June 27, 2014

(WRDW) --

People are traveling to the Garden city today for Augusta Pride. Ten thousand people are expected in town this weekend.

For Lonzo Smith, Augusta Pride is about a lot more than a parade. "Pride saved my life. Pride saved... A lot of people's lives," he said.

Lonzo is the Vice President of Augusta Pride, and he has been planning Augusta's fifth Pride, and he's seen a lot of growth. "We have people from all over, this little Pride in Augusta, has grown to be the little engine that could, and we're making things happen throughout the southeast," Lonzo said.

This is the second biggest Pride celebration in Georgia, an attraction for hundreds of people who live outside of the city. "The little boy that might be in Waynesboro, the little girl that might be in Barnwell, not realizing that there might be some place they can go and feel like they belong," he said.

Folks like Brenda Whisler, have traveled all over for the festival, and for business. "Augusta is a beautiful town it opens its arms to the diversity of community and culture," Brenda said.

And the celebration doesn't end there, signs can be seen up and down Broad Street for the parade which expects five to ten thousand people.

This Augusta Pride celebration has changed over the years, much like the laws. More than a dozen states have now overturned bans on same sex marriage. The support from around the community, means progress in Augusta for Lonzo. "Come to Augusta not just for The Masters, come to Augusta not just for the Iron Man, come to Augusta for Pride.

But for visitors like Brenda, she's ready to enjoy what she calls progress and a good time. "We just look forward to having a lot of fun here, experiencing the community and enjoy our work as we build our lights for everyone," she said.

The parade kicks off at 10:00 AM tomorrow on Jones Street and goes all the way down Broad. The festival starts at the Augusta Commons afterwards at 11:00 AM. The following performances are Saturday, Allison Foster at 11:30 AM. Chad Michaels at 12:00 PM. Latrice Royale at 12:15PM. Synergy at 12:30PM, Taylor Dayne at 1:15 PM, Chad Michaels at 2:00 PM, Latrice Royale at 2:30 PM, False Flag at 3:15 PM, Local Talent at 4:00PM, Festival closes at 6:00 PM.

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