South Georgia Pride
The weekend after Athens and Savannah's Pride celebrations, Valdosta is home to the fourth annual South Georgia Pride.
Last year's festival drew an estimated 1,200 attendees, but the event was not without a shade of controversy. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle refused to sign a proclamation recognizing the day over religious convictions, but the festival went on as planned in the city's John W. Saunders Park.
Despite the contention between organizers and the mayor's office, last year's event was the most successful to date for event organizers.
For 2013, old and new performers will take the stage at Valdosta's Pride. Drag King Spikey Van Dykey returns for a second consecutive year, while new talent, including "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestant Stacy Layne Matthews (season 3), all-girl band She-N-She, singer-songwriter Kym Berry, The Ladies of Glo, The Sudden Impact Cloggers and others join the entertainment lineup.
This year's festival theme is "Pride Without Limits" and is meant to celebrate recent progress made in the LGBT rights struggle, according to festival organizers. In addition to an expanded children's area, the afternoon will also feature a bevy of guest speakers.
Attendance has doubled each year since the event's inception. This year, organizers are hoping for more than 2,000 attendees.
"We have a billboard and we're running advertisements," Jones said. "Hopefully word gets out."