Motor City Pride: educate, liberate & celebrate June 2 & 3

By Crystal Proxmire

DETROIT -

After last year's packed turnout at Hart Plaza, Motor City Pride planners are looking for another year to "Educate, Liberate and Celebrate" Detroit's LGBT community with the biggest party of the year. Dave Wait, who chairs the planning committee, said there's a lot to look forward to in Downtown Detroit this June 2 and 3.

"We've got some great corporate support this year, especially from the Big Three [Ford, Chrysler and GM] who have pooled together, and we've got the UAW. Amp Radio will be there and we've got more groups coming in doing little things to add activity," Wait said.

"We added a lot more activities this year, because we want everyone to be comfortable and have a good time," Wait said. Saturday will be the family picnic, and there will also be puppet shows, stilt walking, a dinosaur area, and face painting.

On Saturday, over a dozen same-sex couples will exchange vows in the annual commitment ceremony thanks to collaboration with Metropolitan Community Church, and a large parade will cap off the weekend.

"Affirmations is getting involved as well, with their youth program hosting a Prevention Ball, which is a ball-style dance-off mixed with positive messages," Wait said. "They're really working hard to put this together."

There will be three stages of entertainment for Motor City Pride-goers.

The Pride Stage will be home of the Affirmations Prevention Ball as well as performances by dance-pop superstar Kimberly Cole, folk duo Nervous But Excited, and the iconically beautiful Detroit rock lady, Barbara Payton. Plus there will be Motor City Drag presented by Sabin, and something called Hyper Crush, which the website describes as "Live and Direct from the Honky Tonk of Electro. Three shit-faced extra-terrestrials known amongst the elite simply as Donny, Preston and Holly. A couple of real gentlemen and one broad with a steady diet of cotton candy and flat soda pop to calm the nerves."

The Underground Stage is the spot for super-hot club music, with mixes from some of the area's most renowned DJS, including DJ Maestro, DJ Jace and DJ Lena. Necto, MGM Gand, Gigi's and Perfecto all have representation in this weekend-long lineup.

The schedule is not yet finalized for the main festival stage, but Wait promises that more will come as Motor City Pride weekend draws near.

The history for this massive event, according to the Motor City Pride website, goes back to 1985 when, "a relatively new organization, the Michigan Organization for Human Rights (MOHR) hired an Executive Director from Ohio, Craig Covey, in part because of the large and successful Gay and Lesbian civil rights marches he organized in Columbus. In 1986, Craig Covey and MOHR organized Michigan's first Gay and Lesbian march in Detroit. From 1986-1988, the civil rights march took place down Woodward Avenue followed by a rally at Kennedy Square. A party took place at the McGregor Center on the campus of Wayne State University following the rally, organized by a small number of dedicated Gay and Lesbian groups and volunteers." Over the years the event has moved around a bit, at times occupying the parking garage in Downtown Royal Oak and other times filling up Downtown Ferndale. But last year the event was so large that it fit perfectly in Hart Plaza, in the heart of the Motor City. The event now benefits Equality Michigan, a group dedicated to fighting for equal rights, ending discrimination and providing services for victims of hate.

Motor City Pride is the largest gathering of LGBT people and allies in the State, attracting over 44,000 people last year.

There is still time to get involved! Volunteers, visitors and vendors can find more information at http://www.motorcitypride.org.

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