Gay Pride Event Coming to River Street? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/06/05

Gay Pride Event Coming to River Street?

River Street has seen its share of festivals, but nothing like what is coming up this fall. For the first time ever, Savannah's Gay Pride event is just a few signatures away from being held along the Savannah River.

The event is usually a little more secluded, but this year, Gay Pride is literally open to the public. The news is so new, many people didn't even know about it until we reported it. And some wonder if this is the quiet before the storm.

On September 17, the rainbow flag could be flying high over River Street.

"I think there is a potential for problem," said David Whiddon, manager at the Warehouse. "It's a hot-button issue right now, in the news right now."

But Whiddon has a feeling the River Street community will welcome the extra business. "I think it's going to be a blast," he said.

"I'm terribly excited about it," said Georgia Equality member and local business owner Kevin Clark.

He says in past years, Gay Pride was held at the Roundhouse Railroad Museum. He thinks River Street gives the event more credibility. "There were criticisms within the gay community," he said. "They felt we were kind of hiding. The location was a little bit secluded."

It's not a done deal yet. The city still has some questions about this years Savannah Gay Pride, like how many people may show up and where on River Street they will have it, and there are questions about regulations involved with merchandising issues.

Businesses we spoke to are okay with it, but at least one person we found is not crazy about it at all. "It's not gay pride," said Charles Moody. "It's a shame, a national disgrace."

To him, Gay Pride and River Street are a bad combination. "It's a wicked idea. It's not a bad idea, it's a deadly idea."

"It's a celebration," said Clark. "I think it's a great fit."

"Savannah usually behaves itself," added Whiddon. "I think it will be a great time, a good place to have it."

Savannah Gay Pride is an all-day event scheduled for September 17 from 11am to 8pm. City officials tell us they hope to meet with Gay Pride organizers soon to sort out the details in question. Then a final decision will be made.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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