COLUMBIA, S.C. — SC Pride organizers are celebrating a civic achievement 21 years in the making. For the first time, organizers of the city’s annual SC Pride Parade and Festival have been allowed to hang rainbow banners on light posts lining downtown’s Main and Gervais Sts. The flags, lining main portions of the group’s Sept. 4 parade route, snake toward and next to the South Carolina State House.
Ryan Wilson, former SC Pride Movement president, said the flag displays are yet another sign of the city’s generally progressive nature. To get the banners approved, SC Pride had to approach business associations along the two streets.
“The banners are hung by the city, but you have to get the permission of the businesses around there,” Wilson told qnotes. “It was a combination of working with city hall and working with the businesses themselves, which was a pretty neat experience for those involved.”
Wilson said the group experienced no objections or resistance from area business owners, but was lucky to beat out another group vying for banner space along the streets for the same time period.
“We got there first,” Wilson jokingly said.
SC Pride’s public show of visibility and support from local government and businesses doesn’t stop at its downtown flag display. As in years past, Columbia City Council and Richland County Council became official sponsors of the festival.
“The city council gave us $10,000 in tourism grants and the county council gave us a total of $20,000 — one for tourism promotion and the other for hospitality,” Wilson said. “Having $30,000 from local government to bring this caliber event to town is just awesome.”
SC Pride has a full week of events slated, including various club nights and mixers, educational events and the Sept. 4 parade and festival held in Finlay Park. Entertainers for the day include multi-platinum recording artist Taylor Dayne, singer-songwriter Cris Williams, performer Janice Robinson, and local entertainer Danielle Howle. Admission to the park & parade is free. The official after-Pride block-party will be held at PT’s 1109 at 1109 Assembly St. featuring dance music by world-renowned DJ Chris Cox.
The event’s theme this year is “Live PROUD!”. Organizers say last year’s festival attracted approximately 8,000 people from across the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and elsewhere.
info: Get more information on SC Pride events at scpride.org.