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2009 Seattle Pride Parade shatters attendance records
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2009 Seattle Pride Parade shatters attendance records

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

The 2009 Pride Parade, organized by Seattle Out and Proud (SOaP), was an enormous success, easily shattering attendance records from previous parades and showing the Pacific Northwest, and the rest of the country that Seattle loves their Gays.

On Sunday morning, June 28, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., the streets of the Emerald City became Rainbow City as thousands upon thousands of members of the LGBT community and their supporters lined the sidewalks (in some places as many as six rows deep) along Fourth Avenue to cheer for nearly 200 LGBT groups marching to Seattle Center.

The 2009 Gay Pride Parade marked the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which became the defining moment for the Gay rights movement. Seattle joined New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and many other U.S. cities in celebrating Gay Pride on June 28. This year also marked the 35th Anniversary of Seattle Pride, celebrating "Peace, Love and Equality."

Although the hot button issue in Washington State for the LGBT community this year is marriage equality, the 2009 Pride Parade kept fun balanced with politics by staging the different political groups apart from one another. Immediately following a local politician would be librarians dancing with book carts or R Place drag queens singing songs from Hairspray.

The Dykes on Bikes got the parade off to a roaring start. They were followed by this year's Pride Parade Grand Marshals, Washington State Human Rights Commission member and same-sex marriage equality advocate Charlene Strong, longtime PFLAG member Anne Melle, and Seattle Gay News Editor-in-Chief and Gay activist George Bakan. Following the Grand Marshals, a steady flow of parade-marchers swept down the street, stopping to perform in front of the judges' booth to see who would win best float, and being introduced to thousands of spectators by Erik Sandoval, Sister Mother Theresa Nervina, Sylvia O'Stayformore, and Pakio.

Some highlights of the parade were the Equal Rights Washington and Join the Impact contingent carrying a giant American flag, PFLAG getting enormous cheers as they hugged their way down the parade route handing out pink PFLAG stickers, the Rainbow City Band, and the Filipino Youth Activities Drill Team.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Pride was that the parade route was full of spectators from beginning to end. Once the parade was over, marchers and spectators poured into Seattle Center for PrideFest 2009, helping to break that event's previous attendance record, as well.

There were many events leading up to the parade, including the weekly R Place "Pride Idol" competitions, Strike Out With Pride Bowling, the Stand Up With Pride Comedy Fest, the Out of the Closet Fashion Event, the Seattle Pride Kick-Off Party, the four-hour Pride Cruise on Elliott Bay among. Together with the Pride Parade, Seattle's LGBT Pride 2009 was one memorable event!

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