ATLANTA — Expect to see large crowds and extra security at this weekend’s ‘Atlanta Pride.’
The festival and parade are back this year for the first time since pre-pandemic times.
Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach was in midtown Atlanta at Piedmont Park, where they were busy setting up.
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Crews will spend the next couple days finishing the setup throughout Piedmont Park.
One festivalgoer who lives in the area is excited to see it back, the first Atlanta Pride in the last three years.
“I think there’s so much going on, people visiting from all over the country that come here…and we have a lot of great performers on stage. It’s free, which is nice,” Cedric Forbes said.
Atlanta police will be out in force to protect the crowds.
Their LGBTIQ liaison officer welcomes everyone to the city and wants to keep them safe.
“You’ll see us throughout the park, in the parade, and during the festival. We’ll be out all weekend,” Atlanta Police LGBTQ Liaison Officer Hayes said.
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Atlanta Pride’s executive director says they work closely with APD and other private security.
“We’re a large event, but also an event where people are very polarized, people that don’t want us to be gathering and having a good time,” Jamie Fergerson said.
“The police department is cognizant at all times of threats going on in the city,” Hayes said.
Atlanta Pride weekend has seen protesters in the past and extra security will be in place, especially after recent hate crimes of vandalism when a suspect who was later arrested spray-painted swastikas on the rainbow crosswalk just a block from the park.
“I think we all know, strong as one and surpass that, don’t really think about that. Think we all trust our community and know we’ll be safe about it and we have a lot of security here,” Forbes said.
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Atlanta Pride comes a month after Music Midtown cancelled their big festival here in the park in part because of Georgia gun laws and a recent ruling where they felt they couldn’t ban weapons in a public park.
For this event, there is no rule for guns or carrying. Their website only says they request everyone leave any weapons, including firearms, at home.
The annual Atlanta Pride parade is this Sunday. It will start at noon.
Click here for the parade map.
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