Chafee to Grand Marshal Rhode Island Pride Parade
Rhode Island's 35th annual Pride celebration in Providence on Saturday, June 18 will feature Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Mayor Angel Taveras and former WPRI news anchor Karen Adams as grand marshals of the Illuminated Nighttime Pride Parade.
Chafee has been a longtime supporter of the LGBT community and used his inaugural address to encourage legislators to pass a marriage equality bill. Voters elected Taveras last November to succeed David Cicilline, who now represents the state's First Congressional District on Capitol Hill. Adams is a long-time supporter of the LGBT community.
This year's theme is "I am, you are, we are a revolution" to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the state's first Pride celebration. The organizers of that event had to go to court to fight for the right to have events in the city of Providence. Onlookers even taunted and harassed the small group of participants.
Since then, Rhode Island Pride has grown into one of New England's largest Pride celebrations. Last year's parade drew thousands of people to the city.
"It is our hope that you are encouraged to create the world in which you wish to live and reflect the spirit of revolution on just this pride season but every day of your life," said Rhode Island Pride Chair Rodney Davis.
This year's event will be held once again by the city's waterfront on South Water Street. The festival begins at noon and will feature disco queen Thelma Houston and a bill of other entertainers.
Houston climbed to the top of the pop charts in the 1970s with her high-powered rendition of "Don't Leave Me This Way", which gave her the distinction of being the first solo female Motown artist to win the Grammy Award for "Best R&B Female Vocal Performance." Houston performed on "American Idol" in 2009.
This year's PrideFest will feature a diverse line-up of entertainment that will include two-time 2010 OUTMusic Awards nominee Kid Akimbo, the Click List, Ariel Aparicio and the ladies of Sister Funk. Also scheduled to perform on the PrideFest stage are members of the Tiptons Saxophone Quartet and Drums, The Mary Day Band, The Candace Brooks Band, B-Hive, Young Kaii, Baby Oil, Pamela Means, and the ever popular Sabrina Blaze.
PrideFest 2011 will also feature special performances from Miss Gay RI Victoria Starr, Mr. Gay RI Jesse Ciolfi, Miss Lesbian RI Lisa DeCesare, Pride King and Queen Ocean State 2011, the Imperial Court of Rhode Island and diva Jackie Collins.
The hosts for this year's PrideFest include Jacqueline DiMera, Vi'Let, Haley Star, Genesis, and the one-and-only Self-Proclaimed First Lady of Providence Miss Kitty Litter.
As in past years, there will be old favorites such as the MarketPlace and Business Exposition, the Kid's Pride Zone and the Beer, Wine and Spirits Garden. This year the PrideFest concert will end at 8 p.m.
Capping off the festivities will be the Illuminated Nighttime Parade, which will wend its way through the streets of Providence. Thousands of onlookers turn out each year to cheer on the marchers and the multi-colored floats. Most downtown gay clubs will also host block parties with special guests.
The week leading up to Pride will feature a number of special events.
On Wednesday, June 15, Friday, June 17, and Sunday, June 19, the Providence Gay Men's Chorus will present their spring concert, "What a Difference a Gay Makes", at Rhode Island College. The Rivera Bingo Palace in Cranston will host RI Pride Disco Bingo, a benefit for Rhode Island Pride that AIDS Care Ocean State sponsors, on Thursday, June 16.
Go to www.ripride.com for more information and a complete schedule of events.