Pride in Dallas brings the parade back to Cedar Springs at 1 p.m. Sunday
Pride in Dallas brings a parade back to Cedar Springs; Texas Latinx Pride and North Texas Pride also scheduled this weekend
James Ware said this week that he remembers visiting San Francisco in the late 1970s, when he had just turned 18, and he remembers visiting The
Castro when it was a bustling gayborhood, full to the brim with LGBTQ bars and LGBTQ-owned businesses and all the many different LGBTQ people who lived or visited there. But over the years, Ware said, those bars and businesses died out or moved away, and what had once been a thriving LGBTQ community has faded and dimmed.
Grand Marshal Kirk Myers
Kirk Myers, founder and CEO of Abounding Prosperity Inc., was chosen as grand marshal of the first Pride in Dallas Parade by a vote of the community, according Pride in Dallas President James Ware. He is the first Black man elected grand marshal of a Pride parade in Dallas. (Nicole O’hara Munro was co-grand marshal of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade in 2017.)
Myers has said his activism in the fight against HIV/AIDs began in 1998 with his own diagnosis as HIV-positive. He started volunteering with AIN and then went on to work for an organization called Renaissance III, which offered HIV/AIDS services and programs targeted for the Black community. He founded Abounding Prosperity Inc. in November 2005. Myers is also head of Dallas Southern Pride, the organization puts on an LGBTQ-focused Juneteenth celebration each June and which is also the driving force behind the Dallas Black Pride weekend in the fall. Read more about Myers and his contributions to the community here.
Pride in Dallas Schedule
Pride in Dallas’ week of Pride — which began last Sunday with Pride Week Brunch at Cedar Springs Tap House, Pride in Dallas Happy Hour at the Round-Up Saloon on Monday, Pride In Dallas Show Tunes Tuesday at Woody’s, Singles Night Pride in Dallas Mixer at JR.’s on Wednesday and Chick Happy Hour at Sue Ellen’s, the Burge/Varner Art Display at Roy G’s and Lava Pride Party at Lava, all on Thursday.
The rest of the weekend’s events include:
• The Rainbow Road Bar Crawl along the Cedar Springs Strip, 6 p.m.-midnight on Friday.
• Chaotica, the office Pride in Dallas dance party Saturday night at S4, from 9 p.m.-4 a.m.
• Pride in Dallas Parade Drag Brunch, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at Cedar Springs Tap House.
• The Pride Parade on Cedar Springs, beginning at Wycliff and ending at Oak Lawn, from 1-3 p.m. Sunday.
• Spectrum Tea Dance from 4-10 p.m. at S4.
• DirtyPop Closing Party from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. at The Round-Up Saloon.
Although Dallas Southern Pride, the city’s annual Black Pride weekend, has been cancelled for 2022. A new event, however, has been planned for Friday, Sept. 30. Tx Trans Pride, presented by Prism Health North Texas, Transgender Pride of Dallas and Arttitude and featuring Kerri Colby, from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m., at Station 4.
“A few years ago, [the LGBTQ strip] on Cedar Springs was about a block, maybe a block and a half long,” Ware said. “Now though, our community is thriving, and we have three blocks full of bars and LGBTQ-owned businesses — from Mr. Misster down to the Caven bars and The Round-Up, to Woody’s and Alexandre’s and all the way down to the Cedar Springs Tap House.
“But in 2019, when the Pride parade moved away from Cedar Springs, out of Oak Lawn, I started to worry,” he continued. “When the parade left Cedar Springs, our neighborhood lost some of its soul, some of its diversity. And I wondered, what would happen if somebody came in and bought all the Caven properties and tore everything down. So I wanted to do something to make sure our gayborhood stayed strong, to see our community thriving again by doing something to bring a Pride parade back to Cedar Springs and the heart of our community.”
Ware said that he began planning as early as 2019, and initially hoped to have some sort of Pride event in Oak Lawn in September 2020. But not knowing what would happen with Caven Enterprises’ plans to sell its properties on The Strip slowed things down. But when word came at the end of 2020 about the agreement between Caven Enterprises and Pegasus that would leave the buildings on Cedar Springs as they were, Ware felt he had a greenlight.
“Caven Enterprises has been one of the cornerstones of The Strip going way back to the days of Frank Caven. And Mike Ablon has been a big supporter, too,” Ware said. “So once the sale of the Caven-owned properties to Ablon was completed, I knew I could move forward.” [EDITOR’S NOTE: Caven Enterprises sold properties on Cedar Springs to PegasusAblon. Caven Enterprises still owns and operates the nightclubs in those properties.]
Then, of course, “COVID had come along with plans of its own,” putting things on hold throughout 2021. But by the spring of this year, Ware said, he had put together a board of directors for a new organization, Pride in Dallas. That board includes Ware as president, Sameer Paroo as vice president, Andrew Vargas as treasurer, Tracy Nanthavongsa as secretary, Alberto Mendez as director of operations, Donnesh Amrollah as marketing and creative director, Sage Thomas as media and community services director, Eddie Bridges as volunteer services director and board member Dick Carter.
Before summer ever started, they were moving full steam ahead to put plans in place for Pride to return to Oak Lawn.
“I reached out to all the bars on The Strip, and they all immediately jumped on board,” Ware said. “That includes the newer bars, Lava and Mr. Misster, even though neither of them were around before for a Pride parade on Cedar Springs.”
Putting on a Pride parade can be a costly endeavor. But Ware said the new Pride In Dallas board is “doing exceptionally well, I think,” when it comes to funding this new version of the old gayborhood-based parade. Bars and other businesses on The Strip have all donated to help cover expenses, and the board’s crowd-sourcing efforts — including a GoFundMe page — have been successful as well.
“You have the cost of police, barricades, permits, insurance, creating signs — but the cost is, in my opinion nominal,” Ware said. “The key is looking at alternative ways of fundraising.”
This year is not going to be what the parade on Cedar Springs used to be, and it won’t be what it’s going to be, either. But it is, Ware said, going to be special. And it is going to fix some of the problems that plagued earlier parades on The Strip.
“One of the issues in the past has been addressing accessibility for people with mobility issues,” Ware said. “This year, we will have two 10-by-10 tents set up to provide space for people with mobility issues so they are not pushed or crowded or run over. We will have people stationed there so if they need something, water or something, we can get it for them — a kind of concierge service.
“These guys are pretty important to us,” he continued. “Over the years, I have learned from what worked and what didn’t work. When the city redid the sidewalk in front of Hunky’s, we realized that was an amazing place to [put up those tents — wheelchair accessibility, port-a-lets right around the corner — everything they need.”
Parking was also an issue in the past, but Ware and his team have found an answer for that, too. “At first, I was reaching out to DART for an agreement to use the parking at the Market Street Station and run shuttles to The Strip,” he said. “But then I was reminded about ride share.
“We have partnered with Walgreens there on Cedar Springs to arrange a pick-up and drop-off spot for the ride share companies in the back parking lot at Walgreens. We’ve already worked out an agreement with Uber to avoid price surges for those picked up at the Walgreens lot. So we are encouraging people to use ride share.”
The parade itself will be scaled down from the ones in years past, with permits that allow for a total of only 40 entries, “and we’ve already pretty much got that many,” Ware said. And one of those 40 will be the 180-plus-person marching band from Dallas ISD’s Skyline High School.
“For the first time ever in Texas, Dallas ISD is allowing a high school band to march in the Pride parade,” Ware declared. “We had to turn down the band from Southern University in Baton Rouge for this year. But they are committed for next year, and their band has more than 450 members!”
Speaking of next year, Ware said, “We have a whole year to plan, so expect everything to be bigger and better. After this weekend, we are going to take a break, and then in November we will be right back at it.”
But before parade weekend kicks into high gear, Ware had one more message: Pride is for everyone, everywhere.
“We had two town hall meetings to talk with the community, and everyone who was concerned was concerned that we are competing with Dallas Pride. But we’re not,” he said. “We fully support Dallas Pride. We fully support them being in Fair Park in June. But we believe that instead of just taking things out of the community, we should be adding things into the community.
“I want to show people all these Prides can work together,” he continued. “We can have the same sponsors. We can do everything — Southern Pride, Latinx Pride, Trans Pride, North Texas Pride — you can’t have too many Prides.”
— Tammye Nash
North Texas Pride returns to Plano
A family-friendly event is how the North Texas Pride Festival has always billed itself. Returning for an 11th time, booths, food trucks, entertainment and more take place from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Haggard Park, 902 E. 16th St. in Plano.
Well, actually not Haggard Park. According to North Texas Pride President Morris Garcia, they’ve scaled down the perimeter of the booths to the grounds surrounding neighboring Saigling House. While the park is public, Saigling House and its surrounding ground is an event space that can be closed to the general public. So North Texas Pride will be inside the fenced area with a $10 admission for anyone 13 and older.
“That will keep our guests together and less likely to be confronted by any unwelcome company,” Garcia said. “And Plano police will have a presence.”
He said expects about 70 booths including vendor booths reserved for handmade arts and crafts artisans as well and sponsor booths. In addition, five food trucks will provide attendees with food and drinks.
Throughout the afternoon and early evening, there will be entertainment including drag performers, two bands, belly dancers and a DJ to emcee.
Garcia said there will also be some “spur of the moment” performances. Festival attendees with talent will be invited to the stage to perform during certain periods between acts.
Popular from previous festivals, the afternoon will feature doggy drag. Dogs will be admitted free.
Last year, Garcia explained, the festival had thee beneficiaries because the previous year the festival was skipped due to COVID. This year, they return to one community organization that wil benefit from proceeds from the event.
The beneficiary is Plano Community Home, which provides low-income housing for seniors in Plano including LGBTQ seniors.
Inside Saigling House, the festival offers a VIP room for up to 50 festival-goers that will offer a place that’s cooler as well as refreshments, games and entertainment.
“Take pictures with the entertainers,” Garcia said. “It was a big hit last year.”
VIP tickets are available through Eventbrite.
— David Taffet
Texas Latino Pride returns to Reverchon
About 3,500 people are expected to participate in Texas Latino Pride’s eighth annual Music Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 3-9 p.m. in Reverchon Park, 3505 Maple Avenue. Admission is free. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $75.
“We are excited to create a space where we can celebrate our intersections within the Hispanic/Latinex and LGBTQIA communities within Dallas and across Texas,” said Texas Latino Pride President Juan Contreras. “We are expecting our biggest crowd ever this year!”
The music festival is hosted by Stephen “STIXXX” Martinez, the radio personality from Tejano 95.7-FM and 1700-AM.
“It is inspiring to see how this event celebrates local talent, music, food and allows attendees to be their authentic self,” said Director of Public Relations Mariano Pintor. I hope this message of unity brings more events to the city of Dallas and shows that it’s a travel destination.”
The lineup begins with DFW comedian Nina Hahn.
The day’s headliner is two-time Latin Grammy Award winning Tejano band from the Rio Grande Valley Elida y Avante. Also on the stage will be local music acts Eric Robers and Ceci Ceci.
Drag performers include Reign, Celestia Moon, Adecia Lush, Macarena and Lana O’Hara.
DJs performing include DJ Mateo, DJ Level and DJ Reyes. Other performers are
There will be 50 community and food vendors.
Dallas County Health and Human Services will be on hand with a pop-up monkeypox vaccine clinic. Anyone who would like a vaccine is welcome to stop by Reverchon Park. Register using a QR code at TexasLatinoPride.org to link to Dallas County HHS. Bring your insurance card, if you have one, and bring your vaccination card if this is your second dose.
Once the music festival ends, head over to Lava Lounge on Cedar Springs Road for the after-party.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel downtown is the host hotel for people expected from out-of-town attending the Music Festival on Saturday and staying over for Pride in Dallas on Cedar Springs Road on Sunday.
“It’s great to see how all organizations are coming together to show Dallas can exemplify unity all yearlong,” Vice President James Ware said. “As a board member across various groups, I’m proud of the great crew of volunteers that put it on. It’s no easy feat!”
— David Taffet