Pride Charlotte started annual events in 2006 with a one day festival in Uptown Charlotte. Over the years it has been much expansion. In 2011 it moved from NC Music Factory to Tryon Street in Charlotte running over a few blocks. In 2012, It went from a one day festival to a two day festival extending the celebration. In 2013, for the first time since 1994, a parade was added to the festivities taking place on Sunday. As the event has expanded in both space and time, it also has expanded in attendants. In 2014, there were approx 100,000 visitors over the weekend and 120,000 in 2015.
As expected with all of the expansions and more advertising of the event, those not in support have decided to attend as well. Each year, there a ‘street preachers’ present shouting words of disgust and hate at the festival goers. Many of them gather while spreading the message that God does not and will not love LGBT people as well as some other things. As groups began to go to to the festival and spread hate and nonacceptance, it peaked the interest of one Kathy Baldock all the way in Reno, Nevada and inspired her to take action. Kathy got word of a group going to the pride festival and wanted to make a stand. Kathy came the first year, with only three other people assisting, the following year, the group extended to 15 people all gathering to stand to block hatred and extend love and acceptance to festival goers. As the years went on, more and more people joined the group taking a stand. This year, we hope to top an number we have had previous years to make sure we are ready for any and everything to come.
This past year, there has been many things in The United States as well as the state of North Carolina that will have many more people out to the pride festival as well as more protesters out as well. Just to name a few things that we affect to expect the turnout as well as the type of people showing: HB2 bill, national election year for US President, local elections, and the Orlando Pulse shooting to name a few.
Each year with the festival, we make our presence known but not only holding up signs supporting love, inclusion and demonstrating what it means to be like Christ. We also hand our giveaways each year, previously we have done stickers which has been the most memorable as well as buttons, as well as some books. This year, our goal is to have at-least 15000 giveaways to span over the weekend. We also give out thousands and thousands of hugs and prayer throughout the weekend. There are many young adults and teens who come out to pride to feel some acceptance of some form but many have not been hugged genuinely in a long time. In order to supply the giveaways, we accept donations which are tax deductible. If you would like to make a donation, please feel free to visit Kathy Baldock’s site Canyon Walker Connection.
We also order t-shirts each year in order to help us all be easier to recognize from the ones standing around us shouting hate. If you would like to participate, order a shirt, or just find out more information, please feel free to visit the contact page and submit your information. Someone will contact you within 24 hours.
Charlotte Pride History- http://charlottepride.org/about/history/
Picture courtesy of Canyon Walker Connections