At 10 a.m Saturday the Cadillac Barbie Pride Parade -- arguably the year's most colorful assembly of pavement marchers, if only due to the preponderance of rainbow flags -- makes its way through downtown Indianapolis. Indy's original Pride Parade started by Gary Brackett, whose alter ego is now the namesake of the event, had one float, an antique truck, a handful of drag queens, a few antique cars and some walkers. This year, 100 units of marchers, vehicles and floats will pound the pavement on St. Clair Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, Michigan and Meridian streets. In other words, it's literally a pretty big deal.
To get ready for the event, we talked to one of the four -- yes, four -- grand marshals about what makes the event so special, as well as a roller girl who skates the streets for the LGBT Celebration.
- Derby Lite / Indy Pride
Derby Lite will be at the Indy Pride Parade, cheering on the Grand Marshals and the rest of the procession.
Freedom Indiana's Megan Robertson, grand marshal -- along with "Original Bag Lady" Coby Palmer, Indiana Fever first-round draft pick Layshia Clarendon and Indiana Equality Action's Executive Director Rick Sutton -- shares three reasons she's excited about the parade:
- Remembering the history of the movement. Pride is a time to celebrate where we are but also to remember where we started. I think it's really cool that one of our grand marshals is Coby Palmer, who has been working in our community for the last 30 years. It's a great reminder of how many people have worked to bring us to where we are today.
- The people watching -- we are an incredibly diverse community and this is a time when we can all come together to celebrate it.
- Finding ways to get involved in the movement here in Indiana. I know Pride can -- and should be -- a bit of a party but there is a lot that needs to be done to keep Indiana moving in the right direction on the issues that directly impact our community.
Second-year parade participant Andrea Ratcliff will lace up her skates and join her Derby Lite Indianapolis pals on this year's route. Three reasons that she loves marching:
- The fun of being able to skate freely through the streets of downtown. It's the one day of the year when we can skate right smack in the middle of Mass Ave, Michigan Street, and Meridian ... and we're allowed.
- The costumes of fellow parade participants and observers -- the more flamboyant and over-the-top, the better. When I see how much creativity and coordination goes into hair, makeup, wardrobe, float production, it humbles me to show up in a few rainbow-themed garments and call that a costume.
- The enthusiasm of the crowd. Everyone looks happy and thrilled to be there. You can feel positive energy everywhere around you.
A complete schedule for Saturday, the closing day of this year's Pride Festival, are available online.