Changes on horizon for Tennessee Valley Pride

by Joseph Smith

In the past, Tennessee Valley Pride (TVP) has successfully held two regional pride events each year, but major changes are on the way.

The pride organization based in Chattanooga, Tenn., will combine its efforts into one week-long pride festival.  In partnership with Chattanooga CARES, Pride Week Festival 2008 is planned for Oct. 12 through 19. Past pride events have been held shortly outside the conservative city of Chattanooga, but this year the pride festival on Oct. 19 will be held at Miller Plaza, in downtown Chattanooga, just blocks from City Hall.

This year’s pride theme will be “Carnivale.” Already many local, state, and national organizations and businesses have agreed to be a part of the festival and lend whatever support is needed.  

“I think the climate of the city is slowly changing," said Joseph Smith, TVP marketing director. "As Chattanooga grows, open minded ideals are starting to effect changes being felt all over the city. This is the perfect time to step up to the next level as a pride organization and GLBT community.

"It will be tough at first; since it will be the first major full public access event in Chattanooga. We may loose some participation from the closeted crowd, but it is important that we show all of Chattanooga that the GLBT community is strong and represents a growing segment of the population that has, for along time been ignored."

To help fund the week's events, Pride festival pins will be sold. The pins are $20 each and will be available beginning Sept. 4. While many of the events and the pride event in the park are free and open to the public, some events will have a charge. By purchasing a pin, most events will be free or will be sharply discounted.

“We are making every effort to make as many events free to the public, but we still have to maintain an operating budget,” said Mario Forte, TVP president.

Pride Festival Line Up
Sunday, Oct. 12
Tennessee Valley Pride Week kicks off with Chattanooga’s newly formed choral group, Panache. The concert will feature The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. The event will take place at 2 p.m. at The Little Theatre located in Chattanooga. Tickets are $15 or free with a Pride festival pin.

Sunday evening, VIGIL, of East Tennessee, and Spectrum, of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, will host speakers a candle light vigil at 7 p.m. This event will mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Mathew Sheppard. The event is free and open to the public. Please visit the TVP Web site,, for more information.

Sunday night, Images Show Bar will host Chattanooga’s first Lipstick/Dipstick Pageant. The Lipstick/ Dipstick Pageant searches for the areas best feminine and masculine lesbians. The pageant starts at 10 p.m. sharp and admission is $5.00 or free with a Pride festival pin. For complete rules and registration information visit Images Web site at

Monday, Oct. 13
Monday evening, Images Show bar will host a comedy night starting at 9 p.m. The guest line up will include a special one night only appearance from a nationally recognized and locally-grown talent. Cover charge is $5 or free with a Pride festival pin.

Tuesday, Oct. 14
Tuesday night is family night. With the purchase of a Pride festival pin, several of the area’s family attractions will offer discounts for admission. For a full listing of attractions and discounts, please see the TVP Web site.

Wednesday, Oct. 15
Wednesday will feature food, friends and community with TVP’s first dinning out event. With the purchase of a Pride festival pin, several of the area’s restaurants and clubs will offer discounts towards food and door charges.

Thursday, Oct. 16
Thursday night will feature Chattanooga’s own Karaoke Idol. The conclusion of this talent-search event will result in the winner taking the Miller Plaza on festival day. Images will host the competition starting at 9 p.m. Complete rules and qualifying information is available at  The event costs $5 or is free with a Pride festival pin.

Friday, Oct. 17
Friday is bar night. Representatives from TVP will be at each bar selling festival pins and holding drawing for prizes and giveaways.

Saturday, Oct. 18
Saturday kicks off at 2 p.m. with a bowling competition sponsored by the Pride Bowling and Rainbow Leagues. The competition is set up for all play levels and is $20 or $10.00 with a Pride festival pin. Holiday Bowl on Brainerd Road will host the competition.

Saturday night will feature two events for those looking to get out of the house. The Lookout Bears of Chattanooga invite everyone to their annual Halloween Party at 8 p.m. at the Lookout Bears clubhouse. The event costs $20 or is free with a Pride festival pin. The theme is "Carnivale" and everyone is encouraged to dress in carnivale attire. Also Saturday night, each bar will host events celebrating pride week.

Sunday, Oct. 19
Sunday is Pride Festival Day. The festival is from 1 to 5 p.m. and will feature food and beverage vendors, entertainment and giveaways scheduled throughout the day. Admission is free and open to the public. TVP has vendor, entertainment and sponsorship opportunities still available. Please visit the TVP Web site at or email to find out how you can be a part of what is sure to become an annual tradition in Chattanooga

After the festival, be sure to support your local bars and restaurants for dinner and drinks. For an after dinner treat head on over to Images for the Mr./Mrs. Tennessee Valley Pride Pageant. The pageant starts at 10 p.m. and costs $5 or is free with a festival pin. Complete rules and qualifications for the pageant are available on the Images Web site.

TVP is accepting applications for vendors and entertainment. Letters of interest can be emailed to

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