June 10, 2010 at 6:32 pm EDT | by Steve Charing
Baltimore prepares for Pride

Baltimore Pride’s celebration on June 19-20, will mark 35 years of honoring the diversity of the LGBT community. The annual celebration is a program of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB).

The main events take place over a two-day period beginning on Saturday, June 19 at 3:45 p.m. with the zany High Heel race at Charles and Eager streets. Then the annual parade starts at Center and Chase Streets and proceeds up Charles Street beginning at 4 p.m. Hundreds of marchers representing dozens of LGBT or LGBT-friendly organizations and businesses, politicians and assorted groups participate while crowds along both sides of the route cheer and wave.

From 5 p.m. on, the intersection of Charles and Eager will be the focus of entertainment as a large stage will be the venue for assorted performers and acts.

Hosting these acts will be Baltimore personalities Tatiyanna Voche and Shawna Alexander. Headliners scheduled to appear are: Debby Holiday, Ariel Aparicio and Electrik Red. There will also be live performances by Odd Girl Out, Silver Phoenix Dance Troupe, Charm City Boys, Jada Givenchy, Marlowe Rainbow, Gilded Lily Burlesque, DJ India, Les Femmes, Danielle Revlon, Bmore Mpowerment, and others.

The famous Block Party officially kicks off at 6 p.m., in which thousands of celebrants jam Charles and Eager Streets checking out the vendors, food concessions, beverage booths and more. The party lasts throughout the evening and then some. Around 10 p.m. many, if not most, continue the celebration by patronizing the area bars.

“This year we are proud to have for the Block Party the Project Health Youth Zone and Bmore Mpowerment presenting the 3rd Annual Rainbow Royale Free Ball for Youth [6-9 p.m., Morton Street between Eager and Chase],” Pride coordinator Andrew Ansel said. “Having a more visible youth presence at Pride is a priority of the GLCCB as it begins engaging with the youth to expand its programming.”

There will also be a poetry slam and a DJ/ dance tent.

On Sunday, June 20, the festivities move to Druid Hill Park for the Pride Festival. The family-friendly Sunday-in-the-park event begins at 11 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. Booths from a plethora of LGBT or LGBT-friendly organizations and merchants as well as booths from elected officials (and those who are seeking to be), city agencies, health and religious organizations are situated along the winding paths of the festival site. There are an ample number of food and beverage concessions, an area designated for kids, a volleyball court and, of course, two stages for entertainment that continues throughout the day.

A wide array of entertainers is scheduled to appear. The Main Stage will be hosted by Pandora Boxx of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Performers include: Charm City Kitty Club, Baltimore Men’s Chorus, Reina Williams, The Pushovers, Steven Gellman, Batala DC Afro-Brazilian Percussion Band, SilverPhoenix Dance Company,Tom Goss, Mama’s Black Sheep and more.

The drag stage will be co-hosted by Tia Chambers, Shawnna Alexander and Lady Lisa and will include performances by: Onyx Revlon (Miss Gay Maryland 2010), Danielle Revlon, Phoenix Bloomingdale, Coco Blackwell and others. Pandora Boxx will be the special guest performer.

“I think Pride 2010 will be remembered for its diversity,” says Ansel. “This year it was very important for the GLCCB that the performers on stage, the activities available, the vendors, the parade participants, everything is reflective of the rich diversity we see both in our city and in the LGBT community.”

Ansel is still looking for volunteers to help coordinate the parade, set-up/break-down, and other tasks. Volunteers are encouraged to contact the GLCCB at 410-837-5445.

Visit http://www.baltimorepride.com/ for more information.

Baltimore Pride events

Friday, June 11

Twilight on the Terrace at Gertrude’s Restaurant, 10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, from 7-11 p.m. Visit baltimorepride.org for more information and tickets.

Saturday, June 19

High Heel Race on Charles and Eager Sts., at 3:45 p.m. Baltimore Pride weekend officially kicks off with a High Heel Race up Charles Street. Bring your own or borrow a pair! No pre-registration required.

Parade on Charles St., between Center and Chase Streets, at 4 p.m.

Block Party on Charles and Eager Streets, from 6-10 p.m. After the parade, Baltimore Pride’s Block Party is a nightclub without walls, and this year’s party is going to be Diva-licious when headliners Electrik Red and Debby Holiday take the stage. It’s four hours of singers, dancers, bands and drag. More than 75 vendors will line the streets of Mt. Vernon.

Youth Empowerment Free Ball on Morton and Chase Streets lot from 6-9 p.m.

Poetry slam at Tolerate Social Deviance Tent from 6-7 p.m.

Stoli DJ/Dance Tent on Cathedral and Eager Sts. Adjacent to City Café

Sunday, June 20

Pride Festival in Druid Hill Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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