7747 Tom Drive • Baton Rouge_ LA • 70806 by taoyni


									                                        7747 Tom Drive • Baton Rouge, LA • 70806
                         Phone: (225) 248-0404 • Fax: (225) 248-0456 • E-mail: BRPride@bellsouth.net

News Release                                                  June 2, 2009

3rd annual Baton Rouge Pride Fest set for June 19-21;
George’s owner Richard Dykes honored as ‘grand marshal’

Plans are shaping up for a great weekend of Pride celebrations June 19-21 in Baton Rouge, as
well as other events stretching into the following weekend.
The activities mark the third year Metropolitan Community Church of Baton Rouge and a variety
of partner organizations have banded together to coordinate GLBT Pride events in the Capitol
One of the focal points of this year’s celebrations will be the recognition of longtime Baton
Rouge businessman and community member/supporter Richard Dykes as the honorary grand
marshal of the Baton Rouge Pride Fest. Dykes and partner Guy Schmeider are the owners and
operators of George’s Place, the city’s oldest GLBT-targeted establishment.
The major activity in the weekend of events will be a Pride Picnic and Community Resource Fair
from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20, at BREC’s Magnolia Mound Park on
Nicholson Drive (between LSU and downtown) in Baton Rouge.
That’s where the award to Dykes will be presented at mid-day amid several hours of events
aimed to help Baton Rouge’s GLBT community and its friends celebrate the 40th anniversary of
Stonewall, meet their neighbors in the community, get to know about community businesses and
organizations and, in general, have a good time with free food, games and loads of
“It’s our honor to recognize Richard Dykes for the pivotal role he’s played in our community for
so many years,” said Tom Merrill, chair of the Baton Rouge Pride Fest team. “He’s been so
much more than just a long-standing member of the community. He’s supported so many causes,
helped to put on so many things, and, in general, been a friend to everyone in our community.
Selecting him as the first recipient of this honor was an easy decision to make!”
Other activities during the day include a blessing of relationships that will celebrate the victories
made in marriage equality during the past year, as well as ever-so-briefly bemoan the setbacks.
“We feel strongly about honoring the commitments made by people to one another, and we
believe those relationships are a gift from God to be celebrated,” said Rev. Keith Mozingo,
pastor of MCC of Baton Rouge, who will conduct the relationship blessing. “Same-sex marriage
may not be legal here in Louisiana, but that doesn’t have to stop people from celebrating their
relationships or us from honoring and blessing those relationships. We’ve seen many states
giving us cause for a celebration over the past year, but we feel there’s always a reason to
celebrate the love members of our community share.”
So far, approximately 20 community organizations and businesses also have signed up to “table”
at the Saturday events – with representatives who will do everything from signing up voters to
HIV and STD counseling and testing.
“We’ve got a robust group for the community resource fair again this year, and the participants
keep growing every day,” Merrill said.
Among the community groups expected to participate in the resource fair are Avallon Salon and
Day Spa; Avita Drugs; Big Easy Metropolitan Community Church (New Orleans); Blanche's
Beads; Bonnie Jones, Realtor; Family Service of Greater Baton Rouge; Forum for Equality;
Freedom of Choice AA; Gamma Alpha Psi; Greg Bell AIDS Foundation; HAART / The Caring
Clinic; Human Rights Campaign; Krewe of Apollo Baton Rouge; Krewe of Divas; Mark Akchin,
Realtor; Metro Health; Metropolitan Community Church of Baton Rouge; PFLAG Acadiana;
Shear Illusions Hair Salon; Starbucks; Stonewall Democrats; and Tiger Truck Stop. And new
groups are signing up daily as the deadline nears.
There’s also a full-day of entertainment planned that includes singers, comedians and a chance
for the public to be a star with Coco’s karaoke. One of the highlights will be a return to the stage
of Daphne MuShatt, formerly of the Born Divas, SHE the Band and N2N. She’s scheduled to
perform along with Ester Gorsha, Andrea Papa and Rae Morris. But they won’t be alone on the
stage – with other portions of the day including singers/musicians Ray Acardo, Mister Wilson,
Michael Sandlin, Erika Schneider and Andi Johnson; comedians Landon, Patricia Hamilton and
Cami Miller; and performances by the Krewe of Divas and Miss Capitol City Pride Amanda
Rose Andrew.
The picnic and resource fair will be conducted rain or shine in the area at the back of the
Magnolia Mound park property – around LaGrange and the Hart House. Admission is free and
open to the public.
While the picnic is expected to be the largest event of the weekend, the celebrations don’t stop
there. Other events to be conducted during the weekend include:
–“Drag Bingo” from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. Friday, June 19, at MCC of Baton Rouge (7747 Tom
Drive). Participants can compete for prizes while they enjoy fun, fellowship and snacks, and
admission is free.
–The New Orleans Gay Men’s Chorus Concert, at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 20, at the Unitarian
Church of Baton Rouge (8470 Goodwood Boulevard). Tickets for the concert by the chorus, are
$15 in advance or $18 at the door. (Tickets generally are available at the picnic and resource fair
Saturday at Magnolia Mound.)
–A special Krewe of Apollo Baton Rouge Turnabout Show at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20,
George’s Place (830 St. Louis).
–A special Pride Worship Service, at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 22, at MCCBR (7747 Tom Drive). Of
course, admission is free and everyone is welcome to enjoy and uplifting and affirming worship
–Pride Afternoon at the Movies from 12:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 21, also at
MCCBR (7747 Tom Drive). There is no admission charge to enjoy your choices of four inspiring
productions for and about the GLBT community. Selections include Academy Award-winning
"Milk" and "Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom" at 12:45 p.m. and “Coffee Date" and "Rock
Haven" at 3:15 p.m.
In addition to those, the Krewe of Divas will hold its annual Pride Ball the following weekend at
the Union Hall on Government Street in Baton Rouge. That’s Saturday, June 27, at 8 p.m.
“We want this weekend to be a time when the whole Baton Rouge community comes together to
have fun and fellowship,” Mozingo said. “There are a lot of organizations and individuals doing
great work in the community, but many of them never cross paths.”
Donations to help defray costs of the picnic are welcome, but no one will be turned away from
the picnic, game night or afternoon of movies thanks to the generous sponsorship of MCC of
Baton Rouge, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, the Krewe of Apollo Baton Rouge’s
AIDS Crisis Fund, Avita Drugs, Dalton’s Downtown, Valero Country Store and many others.
The events are being produced by a planning council involving members and leaders from
MCCBR, the Krewe of Apollo Baton Rouge, the Krewe of Divas, Forum for Equality, Gamma
Alpha Psi and other groups and individuals.
If your group or organization would like to participate by having a table in the community
resource fair, send an e-mail to BRPride@bellsouth.net. Additional sponsors (either groups or
individuals) also are welcome and can obtain details by e-mailing that address or phoning (225)
Volunteers also are welcome to help with set up, food preparation and other details. If interested,
e-mail BRPride@bellsouth.net or phone (225) 907-5251.
For more details on the events, visit www.BRPrideFest.com.
“We know this is going to be a great weekend for everyone to show their pride and have a good
time,” Mozingo said. “We hope to see you there!”
Contact: Rev. Keith Mozingo at (225) 248-0404 or MCCBR@aol.com
Writer: Tom Merrill at (225) 907-5251 or BRPride@bellsouth.net

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