Pride 2008

Crowds come out in rain and shine to celebrate

It was raining much more than men at the 33rd Annual Capital Pride Parade last Saturday, June 14. A large crowd — estimated to be the Parade’s biggest turnout to date by Capital Pride Parade committee co-chair Eric Reader — withstood the rain to watch contingents, performers and floats march from 23rd and P Streets NW, through the Dupont Circle neighborhood, to 14th and N Streets NW, celebrating this year’s theme: ”History. Vision. Legacy.”

”Despite the weather…we had a larger turnout — both from contingents and spectators — than ever before,” Reader says. ”The addition of our announcement stand seemed to be a big hit, as did our grand marshals and emcees.”

This year’s parade featured a second reviewing stand along New Hampshire Avenue to spread the crowd more evenly between the traditionally packed Dupont Circle and 17th Street stretches.

The Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant entry, appropriately playing The Weather Girls’ ”It’s Raining Men” by the Weather Girls, took home the ”Tina Turner Award for Best Float,” for having the best-decorated vehicle. Other winners included Results Gym, which took the ”Cher Award for Best Theme/Energy” for incorporating the Capital Pride theme; D.C.’s Different Drummers, honored with the ”Nancy Sinatra Award” for best walking or marching entry; Nuwear (”Dame Edna Award” for best visiting contingent); and the D.C. Leather Contingent, comprised of Centaur MC, D.C. Boys of Leather, D.C. Eagle and Highwaymen TNT, which took the ”Liberace Award” for the most outrageous float.

The leather community also welcomed new leaders for the coming year: Mr. Capital Pride Leather Jim Rinefierd and Ms. Capital Pride Leather Girl Skye. Winners of the Mr. and Miss Capital Pride pageant were Der’eon Noir (a.k.a. Brian Watson) and Kristina Kelly.

”I think they’re all going to be actively involved,” says Robert York, who produced the pageants. ”I think you’re going to see them all do great things in the coming year.”

Saturday’s rain was perfectly balanced with Sunday’s sunshine for the Capital Pride Festival on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. More large crowds descended on the asphalt where vendor, sponsor and community-organization booths densely lined the street. As underwear models drew crowds and vendors hawked their wares, the festival stage featured emcee Bruce Vilanch and performances by Mara Levi, the D.C. Cowboys, the Gay Men’s Chorus, BETTY and Jason & deMarco.

Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at rshulman@metroweekly.com.

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