A friend of mine asked me if I was going to cover Pride this year. I said I didn’t really give it much thought. He insisted I needed to check out the parade regardless of shooting photos or not. So I put in for credentials.
I didn’t know what to expect when I drove down to get my credentials. I was supposed to meet a gentleman behind a gas station to get my credentials. This seemed a bit shady. Once I saw the part of town where the parade was going to start, I was getting ready to call the whole thing off. I didn’t need to cover this.
The gentleman who handles the press people showed up promptly at 3 p.m. as he promised. (Wow! So not used to that!) Good thing I got there an hour early. He was very pleasant and gave me my rainbow credentials, which stated I was a Snapi Sharp Shooter. Ok, I will cover this event.
Earlier, before picking up my credentials, I drove the parade route. It didn’t seem that long on 4th Street from Charleston to Fremont Street. The whole parade route was a mile long and it only took me a few minutes driving the speed limit and obeying traffic signs.
Later that day, I showed up about an hour early for the parade. The one thing I will say is people are not friendly drivers. As some lady cut me off to get ahead of me to get into the parking garage, I indicated (not in view) that she was number one. Turns out the security guard thought she was number one, too, when she got upset that parking cost money. She drove off and I drove into the garage, a win-win situation.
I walked up to the bandstand at 4th and Bridger, about a block from the parking garage and there were already crowds. The Divas on stage were keeping the crowd entertained by lip-syncing some songs as well as interacting with the crowd. After a few minutes of watching this, I forgot all about the rude lady who cut me off. With sequins, sparkles and blasting music, the extremely talented female impersonators strutted their stuff for the excited fans.
Motorcycles rumbled in and this was the start of the parade. With rainbow colors filling the air and the screams of the audience shouting out in support of their friends and floats, I couldn’t help but have a good time. This was my first Las Vegas Pride Parade and I was having a blast.
I talked to some of the people in the audience and took pictures for them with their cameras. I couldn’t help but feel a part of this event. The pride parade seemed to be different for everyone. Some people were there supporting the GLBT community while others came to watch the parade. Regardless of the reason the air was full of excitement. As some of the corporate sponsors came down the street, the crowd really became excited.
I couldn’t help but appreciate the support that Cox Cable, Albertsons, MGM, and Caesars Entertainment gave to GLBT community. The floats were huge with what seemed oceans of people surrounding them as they made their way down the street. I was impressed with a bar named Charlie’s that had a huge presence at the parade.
It was good to see Josh Strickland heading down the street in a convertible waving to the crowds fulfilling his duties as Grand Marshall. When he stopped and addressed the crowd, I was overwhelmed by the squeals of excitement that came from behind me.
The energy kept growing. As one float pulled up; five guys in their underwear jumped off the float and started walking around, I couldn’t quite figure out what they were doing. Then the song “Party Rock” from LMFAO starts blasting from the float. The five guys start shuffling and the crowd goes crazy.
Shortly after the Party Rock float passed by, the Sin City Roller Girls made their way down the street. As the girls skated around doing tricks and waving to the crowd, some of the girls whom recognized me from their Derby’s at the Rivera came by and knuckled bumped me as well as saying hi to some of their fans in the audience.
The tail end of the parade was several of Metro’s police cars. With the red and blue flashing lights, it mixed in with the Lady Ga Ga music that lingered in the air. The audience dissipated rather quickly and I was left in the street with just a couple of stragglers to keep me company.
As I got in my car I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face. What a fun time and, from what I was told, there were over 15,000 people at the parade. It was nice to see so many people having fun. I was told that next year is going to be much bigger. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for Pride 2012!
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