Nashville’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Pride Festival is expected to bring more than 18,000 people downtown this weekend. This would the highest turnout in the festival’s 26-year history.
The first Pride marches in the late ’80s were tense, with a couple hundred people holding signs and facing down protestors. The very first pride festival marched across Vanderbilt’s campus. It now covers 10 blocks downtown.
This year’s organizer, Jack Davis, says the number of attendees has been growing consistently.
“It’s been a tremendous uprising of support over the years. I mean, look, we’re at the steps of our government.”
And he means that literally. This is the first year that the LGBT celebration is at Public Square Park, right in front of City Hall.
Even five years ago, Davis says, the event didn’t have more than 6,000 attendees. The increasingly high turnout is thanks in part to more visitors from nearby cities like Atlanta and St. Louis.
“Nashville, in general, is kind of an ‘it’ city right now, and our growth is growing as the city is,” he says.
The event also bring in people from Alabama, “or other places that aren’t necessarily accepting,” he says. “We get a lot of phone calls from grandparents and parents, wanting to bring their child who isn’t sure, might be coming out.”