MACON, Ga. — Five years ago it started out as a small party downtown. But now, it is an over a week-long celebration throughout the community.
Macon Pride is back and this year organizers say it's bigger and better.
Macon Pride Week aims to celebrate all of Central Georgia's LGBTQ+ community.
"We're so excited to welcome people from all over our great state to Macon for our fifth annual Macon Pride. This year it's 9 days. We expanded to 9 days this year and we have something to suit the tastes of all people," Macon Pride Co-founder DeMarcus Beckham said.
It all kicks off with the Mx. Macon Pride Pageant at JBA on Saturday and a screening of the hit film RENT at the Douglass Theatre on Sunday.
There are new events this year as well as the return of long-time favorites.
Events include a Rainbow Table Talk on Sept. 25 where people can come and talk about the issues the LGBTQ+ community is dealing with here in Central Georgia, a Haus Party on Sept. 29 featuring Mistress Isabelle Brook from RuPaul's Drag Race season 15, the festival in Third Street Park on Sept. 30 and a faith service on Oct. 1 and much more.
"We have a pride that is tailored to our city and our community. We're a community-based pride like no other in the state," Beckham said.
He says while the festivities are fun, Pride is so much more than a celebration.
"Pride is not just a festival. It's a way we express ourselves through our community. We want to create a space where everyone can feel like themselves, express themselves and also understand the resources in what we have, and the sense of a community here," he said.
Beckham says it's important for LGBTQ+ people to feel like they can take up space in their community and they don't have to go far to feel welcome. He said pride is about being proud of yourself but also being proud of your community.
He says the festival welcomes everyone from "3 to 73" to downtown Macon. He says having a pride festival shows a community is becoming more accepting and open to the LGBTQ+ community.
"This is just a stepping stone. Prides are stepping stone for growth and kind of like a progress report of where our community is. So, I'm very excited to see this progress report. A's across the board," he said.
Macon Pride starts this Saturday with the Mx. Macon Pride Pageant at JBA in downtown. The event begins at 7 p.m. You can find a full list of events here.