By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
A report by a local news outlet claimed Monday night that the Atlanta Pride parade and other major outdoor events and festivals like AtlantaCon had been canceled. When Atlanta Pride organizers reached out to the mayor’s office, a spokesperson for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom’s confirmed that nothing was canceled, but that the city simply ratified the executive order set in place in March at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, the executive order to temporarily not accept applications for permits for major outdoor events is still in place. However, Atlanta Pride organizers are still working with city officials to plan the Atlanta Pride 50th anniversary.
The Atlanta Pride Committee also confirmed to Peach that their dates at Piedmont Park are still being held. They are in frequent contact with numerous government offices and officials to receive the latest updates, and once it is prudent to do so, the permitting process will re-open, and the planning of Atlanta Pride can move to its next stages.
On a phone call this morning with Atlanta Pride Festival Director, Jamie Fergerson, she confirmed that the committee is still working on developing programming for the Atlanta Pride festival, but that they are closely monitoring the situation.
“With the support of the City and our members, we are still planning for the 50th annual Atlanta Pride event. Public safety is our highest concern, and we are closely monitoring city and health guidance as well as partnering with other large event planners’” she said.
The coronavirus pandemic has already impacted many LGBTQ events in Atlanta, including two of the most significant social events of the season, The HRC Gala in May and the Joining Hearts pool party in July. The pandemic will also likely impact the Atlanta Pride sponsorships, as many businesses, local and national, are affected by the pandemic.
Furthermore, the committee has started looking into contingency plans should a point be reached where it is not in the best interest of the community or public health to hold the annual Atlanta Pride and parade as planned. As Jamie Fergerson explains:
“If it becomes clear that it’s in the community’s best interest not to gather en masse, we’ll find alternate ways to celebrate this milestone. But for now, we stand ready to celebrate Atlanta Pride as planned if it’s safe to do so. We’re also putting together robust digital programming for everyone to enjoy while we’re sheltering in place.”