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OKC Pride weekend starts with a party, ends with a parade, all with edgy entertainment and activism


Joe Wertz June 24th, 2010

OKC PrideBlock Party7-11 p.m. Friday"The Strip," N.W. 39th Street and N. Pennsylvania Avenue Festival 10 a.m. Saturday-SundayMemorial ParkN.W. 36th Street and N. Classen BoulevardStreet Dance and Show...

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OKC Pride
Block Party
7-11 p.m. Friday
"The Strip," N.W. 39th Street and N. Pennsylvania Avenue

Festival
10 a.m. Saturday-Sunday
Memorial Park
N.W. 36th Street and
N. Classen Boulevard

Street Dance and Show
4 p.m. Sunday
"The Strip"

Pride Parade
6 p.m. Sunday
From Memorial Park to "The Strip"

Ginger Lamar was there when the first Oklahoma City Pride parade stepped off in 1988.

Drag queens weren't exactly encouraged to participate then, Lamar said, but that didn't stop her from finding a way into the procession.

Uninvited but undeterred, she was carried into the fray atop a 1975 Cadillac Eldorado.

"We went anyway, because we were mad," she said. "We just plopped that big thing in line and went for it."

Lamar, a New York native who's lived in Oklahoma City "all my gay life," has been a regular presence at the parade and in the clubs since. She currently hosts "The G-Spot" show each Saturday at The Boom.

On Sunday, she will lead the parade she once had to sneak into. She and longtime Oklahoma City Public Schools teacher Joe Quigley, who made headlines last year after being fired from his position at Northwest Classen High School, are the 2010 grand marshals.

The Cadillac is long gone " "probably where I should be: in the junkyard" " but she has a new chariot this year. It's a Mustang, she thinks. In red, which she's sure of.

"It better be big," she said with a laugh. "If it's too small, it'll make me look fat."

Sunday's Pride Parade caps a weekend of events for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered supporters, and equality activists from around the state and region.

The celebration starts 7 p.m. Friday with a block party on "The Strip," along N.W. 39th Street and N. Pennsylvania Avenue. Two areas will stage entertainment there, said OKC Pride spokesman Todd Clark.

A pair of 21-and-over parties are planned for the parking lots of Angles, 2117 N.W. 39th, and The Boom, 2218 N.W. 39th. Events held elsewhere along N.W. 39th are open to attendees 18 and older, Clark said. Local rock quartet Unmarked Cars and Tulsa pop trio Eric and the Adams will lead Friday's festivities with an outdoor concert at The Boom.

"It's a lot of what we had last year " water slides, music and beer " just a lot bigger," Clark said.

Performer Sonja Martinez will emcee the party, while drag performers Shantel Mandalay, Colby Roberts and Jak'kay Monroe will stage shows.

Events continue 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday with daylong festivals held at Memorial Park. Education and activism are a big component of the festival, Clark said, and gay-friendly churches, outreach groups and political organizations will be on-site.

Lamar will give her pre-parade address at the park at 3 p.m. Sunday. The parade starts at 6 p.m. and begins at Memorial Park.

About 35,000 participated in OKC Pride events last year, Clark said, and organizers have beefed up security to accommodate the much larger crowds expected throughout the weekend.

Lamar said she's looking forward to a little rambunctious fun, but noted participants should keep an eye on one another and keep things under control.

"I just hope everybody has a good time. That's my biggest priority," she said. "Don't get yourselves too drunk. We don't need any problems." "Joe Wertz

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Ginger Lamar
 
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