A record number of attendees -- 44,000 -- packed Hart Plaza June 4-5 for Motor City Pride, a volunteer-driven event that celebrates and supports Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.
The festival hosted a variety of events such as a family picnic, a women’s golf outing, music and a parade. Other than live events, vendors of all kinds sold merchandise and garnered support for various causes.
Admission to the festival was free, but attendees were encouraged to make small donations, which were used in support of the non-profit organization Equality Michigan. The group advocates equal rights for Michigan residents regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. They also helped organize volunteers and inform the community about LGBT issues.
This year’s event was moved to downtown Detroit after being held in Ferndale for the past 10 years.
“We moved to Detroit because the event was growing, and we no longer had enough room in Ferndale,” Equality Michigan Director of Communications Michael Gregor said. “Hart Plaza is a common event destination and can accommodate a large festival without shutting down streets.”
Gregor said that moving the event to Detroit eliminated many of the problems that Motor City Pride faced in the past, such as scarce parking, that have caused Ferndale to close its streets.
Holding the event at Hart Plaza allowed a more diverse lineup of entertainment and vendors than in past events because of its bigger and more centralized location, Gregor said.
Local bands, such as The Killer Flamingos and Nervous but Excited, and nationally recognized artists, like Alexis Jordan and Erika Jayne, played on one of the festival’s three stages over the two-day event.
The Killer Flamingos are an Ann Arbor-based pop-rock five-piece band that was voted Best Band in Detroit by Hour Magazine.
Nervous but Excited is a Michigan-based folk duo that played the event’s Festival Stage. Most of their music is acoustic guitar-driven with soulful lyrics.
The second day of Motor City Pride opened with a parade that was open to citizens, organizations and businesses. Hundreds of people marched down Griswold Street to Hart Plaza, showing their support for the LGBT community.
“A lot of attendees came to Hart Plaza for their first gay and transgender pride event,” Gregor said. “People throughout Detroit were thrilled that we were there.”