Mid-South Pride celebrates a milestone when the Memphis-area Pride festival kicks off on October 12 at Robert Church Park and the Beale Street Entertainment District. 2013 marks Mid-South Pride’s tenth anniversary, aptly themed Decades of Pride. 

According to Mid-South Pride committee member Ray Rico, Mid-South Pride has grown substantially over its ten year history. “We have evolved over the past ten years going from a group of a thousand or so in a small park in Midtown to moving to world famous Beale Street with a crowd of 8,000 and a colorful parade to boot,” says Rico. Secret to Mid-South Pride’s success? “Increasing awareness with our family, friends, coworkers and organizations has allowed us to grow,” Rico continues.

The event, which boasts one of the largest annual parades in Memphis, is expected to draw around 9,000 people, with the same number or greater lining Beale Street for the extravagant parade. Rico and the rest of the Mid-South Pride committee are ready. “Our park layout this year is improved; we are actually utilizing more space to accommodate for the attendance,” says Rico.

One of the largest Pride festivals in the region, this year’s lineup is full of interactive events and competitions to help make the festival’s tenth anniversary unforgettable. Entertainment acts include CoCo Montrese from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Soul-Pop artist JC Jones and trans country rocker Brody Ray.

The festival will also boast food trucks and vendors, along with a classic car show, a kids’ area with activities for the whole family, arts and local organization booths.

No festival in Memphis is complete without a nod to the heavenly tradition that is Memphis Barbecue. New to Mid-South Pride in 2013 is Roasting on the River, a barbecue contest taking place October 11-12. Challengers will compete among multiple categories, with substantial cash bonuses going to the winners in each category. The Grand Champion will receive an invitation into the 2014 Memphis Barbecue Network Championship, so expect serious competition.

Music and Barbecue? Sounds pretty Memphis to us. “The festival and parade are a culmination of everything this city has to offer,” says Rico. “Memphis has a lot to be proud about and this is a great avenue to celebrate that.”

And come October 12, Mid-South Pride is not only celebrating its tenth anniversary but also those in its community that have worked hard to support and make a difference in the Memphis-area LGBT community. This year’s Parade Grand Marshals are Tami Montgomery, Kal Rocket, Shelia Tankersley & Chris Sinnock.

Admission to the 2013 Mid-South Pride Festival is free. Although attendees can purchase VIP admission for $50 with catering, private restrooms, a view of the entire park, and top-shelf cocktails. In fact, a new signature cocktail will debut at the event, thanks to Ketel One vodka.

For more information on Mid-South Pride Festivities, click here.

 

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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