Pride without prejudice

The 38th annual Twin Cities Pride Festival looks to be their biggest yet.

Mark Brenden

TC Pride Festival When: June 26-27, Parade on June 27 Where: Loring Park, 1382 Willow St. Who: Village People, CeCe Peniston, DJ Shiek, Ellis and Electric Avenue Imagine if a relic from early pioneer America awoke from his two-century slumber and took a stroll down our streets to see what has happened to his world. A lot would blow his mind: the motor vehicles, the skyscrapers and the mobile phones. But imagine if our ancient man kicked his boots down Hennepin Avenue on June 27, the day of the Twin Cities Pride Parade, and saw 125,000 happy humdingers insouciantly flailing their hands in the air, hugging each other and marching down the street hand in hand. One thing you could bet is that the GâÄôs, the LâÄôs, the BâÄôs, the TâÄôs and the AâÄôs would get the old man to kick his boots off and let himself go. Indeed, the 38th annual Twin Cities Pride festival looks to be a bigger and happier affair in 2010 than ever before. And, with the country slowly but surely coming around in acceptance of GLBT rights, there is a lot to celebrate. Corporations are even taking the initiative of sponsoring the festival. Best Buy, Target, Supervalu, Bud Light and Delta Airlines all are serving as corporate benefactors to the gala. The Minnesota Lynx are also joining the cause, putting on a Pride-fueled charity game. âÄúI think more and more businesses are starting to realize that itâÄôs a great market for them,âÄù Twin Cities Pride Executive Director Dot Belstler said. âÄúItâÄôs really kind of an untapped market for them.âÄù Saturday is doggy day at the festival, when Priders can bring their yippers to celebrate and even adopt pets. There will be a lure coursing area, which is a canine sport in which dogs chase a mechanically operated lure âÄî an event usually only for specific, âÄúelitistâÄù breeds like greyhounds. âÄúBeing Pride, we are all-inclusive, so everybodyâÄôs dog can do this,âÄù Belstler said. EverybodyâÄôs dog will also have an equal-opportunity chance to do what theyâÄôve been repressed from doing for years: unhooking the leash and dancing to the Village People in womenâÄôs clothing. ThatâÄôs right, come on out of the kennel, Scruffy, itâÄôs a doggy drag show! Speaking of the Village People: the macho, macho men will be the obvious but necessary headlining entertainment Saturday night. Ross âÄúThe InternâÄù Matthews will also walking the streets getting everyone all peppy and proud. The vivacious and colorful march down the street is a sufficient metaphor for the strides the GLBT community is making toward general acceptance. âÄúAs a country, we are moving in the right direction, just not fast enough for a lot of people,âÄù Belstler said. âÄúWeâÄôre gonna get there.âÄù When they do âÄúget there,âÄù will there still be a need for a Pride Parade? âÄúAbsolutely,âÄù Belstler said. âÄúItâÄôs a celebration.âÄù