The annual Austin Pride Parade is my favorite parade around here. Sure, the rainbow colors, twinkle lights, and outlandish costumes are contributing factors, but the high energy level of the participants and the spectators is quite contagious. You can’t help but have fun at this parade.
This year’s theme was The Wonderful World of Oz-Tin. Dorothys, Tin Men, Cowardly Lions, Scarecrows, Good Witches, and Bad Witches were in abundance . As you might expect, drag queens can do a lot with this theme.
Many, many community and corporate groups participated in what might have been the longest parade in Austin’s history. This year’s event started promptly at 8 PM, and was still going strong when I left 2-and-1/2 hours later. The largest group, by far, was a contingent from Apple.
The Apple marchers waved rainbow-colored flags and were dressed in matching white T-shirts with gold Apple logos. It took over ten minutes for all of them to pass by. At first I wondered if these were customers who had purchased a new iPhone 6 last week. I learned later that an impressive 3,000 Apple employees and their families had marched in the parade.
Each year it seems that more and more corporations participate in the Pride Parade. For the American Express float, photographers snapped polaroid photographs along the route and attached them to a huge dress. That’s a real person at the top of the dress (another drag queen, I suspect).
Numerous religious organizations were in the line-up, with the Methodists once again having the strongest show of Pride support. City services were also well-represented, including members of the Police, EMS, and Fire Departments, transportation agency Cap Metro, and even the Austin Public Library.
My favorite float featured singers and a band from a new downtown Methodist congregation called Life in the City at The Long Center. I heard them twice: near the State Capitol at the beginning of the parade and again on Fourth Street as I was walking home. It took their float more than 30 minutes to travel just nine blocks.
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