CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Delegates and special guests arrived on Monday for the 2012 Democratic National Convention and festivities celebrating the renomination of President Barack Obama for a chance a second term in office began in earnest across the city.
Organizers for the convention say 30,000 people attended a special street festival in downtown Charlotte on Monday, one day before official convention activities kick off in Time Warner Cable Arena. LGBT community groups also celebrated. Hundreds of LGBT elected officials and supporters gathered for an evening reception on Monday where openly gay Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield and openly lesbian Houston Texas Mayor Annise Parker addressed the crowd.
National Stonewall Democrats also hosted a special party on Monday, giving LGBT employees of the local convention committee, Obama campaign staff and convention organizers a chance to relax before official convention events kick off on Tuesday.
Local LGBT community members in Charlotte say they welcome the attention in their city. Toryn Stark, who volunteered to meet convention delegates at their hotels, says she wants Charlotte to be known for the unique city she’s called home for years.
“I hope that they know that Charlote is a very diverse city,” said Stark, who ventured out to a local bar for a special convention-themed drag show on Monday. “It might not be what they are expecting … We definitely are excited to have the convention here.”
On Tuesday evening, the National Stonewall Democrats will hold a special convention watch party and dance party, as First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the nation. Delegates will approve the party’s platform on Tuesday, as well, making the Democratic Party the nation’s first major political party to offer support for full marriage rights for same-sex couples.
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