Columbia Mayor Robert Coble speaks to SC Pride at their festivities in Finlay Park last September.
Columbia Mayor Robert Coble speaks to SC Pride at their festivities in Finlay Park last September.

It’s that time of year. Local Pride festivals across the Carolinas are gearing up for their slate of exciting, community-building events for 2010. qnotes explores the Palmetto State’s upcoming 2010 Pride schedule this issue.

Pride organizers across South Carolina are working hard to provide their respective communities the best events they possibly can. With so much diversity and so many options, it’ll be hard to attend them all. But, if you aren’t, here’s some useful information about each group’s plans. Mark down the dates and take mental notes. It’s time to get your Pride on!

Augusta Pride

According to Alan Braden, who wears several hats for the Augusta Pride board, it’s been a challenge to organize their first annual event because they are starting from scratch. However, he is confident they will have a successful event.

“We realize that it was past time for Augusta, the second largest city in Georgia, to host its own events,” he said.

Throughout the year, the board has organized and hosted several fundraisers. These events have enabled them to become more visible, aiding them in gaining the backing and support of their community.

Augusta Pride organizers will host their first annual event on Saturday, June 19, with a parade on Broad St., a free music concert, festival and several vendors and merchants from all over. Performers will include Frenchie Davis, Thelma Houston and several local talents. Several other parties are planned throughout the evening. For more information, visit prideaugusta.org.

Charleston Pride

Lynn Dugan, founder of Charleston Pride, is hoping to bridge her community. Like Augusta, Charleston will host its first local Pride event this year.

It is evident that Dugan is excited about what her team has accomplished and planned for their 2010 festivities.

“You cannot get a better team of men and women to take on this huge project! Our team members are very diverse, passionate, talented, and dedicated,” she said.

The organization includes both straight and LGBT members, and it is the youngest formed group out of all the organizers qnotes interviewed. However new to the scene they might be, their efforts will remain unimpeded.

Dugan said the motivation for forming the organization is essential to their community and the overall gay movement. “It’s time to bridge the gap with all our communities. We feel that it’s important to increase awareness because our visibility will transform the future of our equal rights.”

Charleston Pride will be held on Saturday, May 15 at 11:00 a.m. in Olde Town, North Charleston. A rally will be held at the Riverfront Park, North Charleston from 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. An after party is planned that evening from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. For more information, visit charlestonpride.org.

SC Pride

SC Pride will host their annual Pride week events in September. Their Pride week will include bowling, a Mr. & Ms. SC Pride Pageant, picnic, a parade, and festival on Sept. 4 in Finlay Park, an Andy Warhol film screening at the Columbia Museum and a fabulous Friday night event about which organizers are being interestingly secretive. SC Pride coordinators are working extremely hard to finalize arrangements to include a marathon. Other parties are planned within the community throughout the week. For more information visit scpride.org.

[Ed. Note — After this story’s publication online and in our April 17 print edition, SC Pride organizers announced a date change. The SC Pride Festival has been moved from Sept. 11 to Sept. 4.]

South Carolina Black Pride

South Carolina Black Pride celebrates their fifth annual event with the theme, “Nothing but love.”

According to Assistant Pride Director Shelia Hudson, SC Black Pride “has been heavily active in the community by hosting our yearly expo and other social events throughout the year. In response, the community has been supportive. Each year several thousand persons attend events during Pride weekend.”

South Carolina Black Pride will host their four-day event June 24-27. The event starts out with a welcome reception and live entertainmen on June 24. A “men who have sex with men” (MSM) HIV prevention workshop and a short film/presentation and panel discussion will be held on June 25. A community expo with food, entertainment, exhibits and giveaways will be held on June 26.; The event culminates on June 27 with a community worship service by Pastor Ra’Shawn Flurnoy. For more information visit southcarolinablackpride.com.

Upstate Pride

Ashley Thomas, Upstate Pride public relations chair for, is excited about all the pre-Pride activities leading up to their second annual event on Saturday, June 19. Thomas said her group plans to build upon last year’s successes.

“We decided to make this year’s event bigger and better,” said Thomas.

In order to accomplish this, their 11 board members had to overcome a few challenges. Last year, some 400 people applied for permits to protest their march and festival. Despite protestors’ efforts, the community remained supportive. Several local organizations and merchants were instrumental in ensuring the success of last year’s event. Thomas stated the motivation for hosting their march and festival is “to empower and educate the community through many different avenues.”

Upstate Pride’s fundraising committee has worked tirelessly throughout the year to provide fun and creative events that appeal to the entire community. Prior to their main event, the board has planned five more community activities: a second round of speed dating, their “Under One Roof” celebration, a “Scavenger Poker Run,” a Hoedown party and “Halloween in May.” For more information, visit upstatepridesc.org.

Stay tuned…

Be sure to pick up a copy of qnotes‘ May 1 print edition, or check us out online, for news on Myrtle Beach Pride and other local and statewide events planned this year in North Carolina. : :

This piece appeared in the April 17, 2010-April 30, 2010 print edition.

Deaidre Newby

Deaidre Newby is a former editorial intern for QNotes.