If you were celebrating 35 years, wouldn't you want to throw a big party at a swanky hotspot?
''We're looking forward to having all of our supporters and community members and leaders, as well as people who just want to learn more about Capital Pride, come help us celebrate our birthday,'' says Dyana Mason, executive director of Capital Pride. Pride will hold a special 35th anniversary reception on Wednesday, June 9, at the Donovan House hotel off Thomas Circle.
Capital Pride got its start in 1975 as a small block party in front of where Lambda Rising used to be, on Connecticut Avenue north of Dupont Circle. But now, the annual Capital Pride parade winds around Dupont Circle and vicinity, and the festival takes up several blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol. And those culminating main events are just two of more than 50 Pride-affiliated events, spread out over 10 days.
''We like to fancy ourselves as the nation's Pride,'' says Mason. ''We thought it would be good to recognize the accomplishments of Capital Pride, recognize the accomplishments of the metro-D.C. GLBT community, and recognize some of the leaders in the community who have made such a big difference in bringing Capital Pride together over the years.''
Capital Pride's anniversary party will start at the Donovan House's Zentan Restaurant, but will also include the hotel's rooftop pool deck. In addition to speakers and a performance by the Potomac Fever ensemble of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, there will be a silent auction. Among those items up for bid are tickets to Olivia Cruises' Fall Caribbean adventure, tickets to take Amtrak's Acela train, a stay in Las Vegas, plus many packages from local donors.
The party will serve as a special mid-week bump to get people fired up for the big weekend to come, in addition to its larger purpose of commemorating 35 years of Pride, the nation's third largest such event, with a nod to the future.
''Our theme this year is 'You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet,'" says Mason. ''We're not only looking back, recognizing how far we've come, but also acknowledging how much work we still have to do and how much more the lesbian and gay community in Washington, D.C., will continue to grow and be a vibrant part of the city community. It's an exciting time.''
This year marks Mason's second at the helm -- and also her last. She's leaving later this summer to pursue a policy management Ph.D. at the University of Southern California.
''The nice thing about Capital Pride is that it evolves from year to year as the leadership grows and changes, and people get new ideas,'' she says.
Here's to another 35 years of growth and new ideas for Capital Pride.
Capital Pride's 35th Anniversary Party takes place Wednesday, June 9, from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the Donovan House, 1155 14th St. NW. There is a suggested donation of $10 to $20. Visit CapitalPride.org.