Yesterday's parade will go down as the most memorable ever, in my book! We had 2 wrapped cars in the parade this year-- my Biscuit-mobile, and William's Biscuit Truck! Our entourage included two drag queens (Mimi & Coochie) and three Biscuit Fairies! There were also about a dozen other people that rode in our cars and/or
marched alongside. We stocked the cars with T-shirts, Frisbees, koozies and beads to toss out along the route from Piedmont Park to the Civic Center. We arrived on time for line-up, getting there around 11:00am. The weather was nice and we all enjoyed a tailgate party-- eating sandwiches from Publix and drinking the potent punches that Delia brought along. The parade wasn't set to begin until 1pm, so we had a couple of hours to kill. We walked around and saw the rest of the floats, talked to old friends that we ran into occasionally, saw a few celebrities (Steve & Vickie from B98.5, Melissa Carter from Q100, and an 84-year-old gay soldier from WWII).
I guess it was about 11:45am when we heard the first round of thunder. It was followed by a few more big bangs, and then lightening bolts that seemed to be hitting ground very nearby. By this point, we were all in the cars ready for the parade to get going. Well, all of a sudden the rain began to fall-- a few sprinkles to begin with, then all hell broke loose. The sky opened up and dumped what must have been thousands of gallons of water on us. My car was full of drag queens and a few others, so I couldn't put the top up on the convertible. I figured the storm would pass quickly, as it usually does. No-- not this time-- It continued to downpour on us (and in my car)for the next 4 hours- nonstop! I tried, to no avail, to protect the interior of the car with an umbrella. A few of us thought about seeking shelter under Coochi's enormous wig. Delia and her merry band of "Biscuiteers" were also getting drenched in the back of William's pick up truck behind us.
Despite the rain, the crowds were huge and excited. The parade went on as planned, even though the gods were throwing lightening bolts all around us! There wasn't a dry spot on any of us. I swear that I could have jumped in a swimming pool fully clothed and swam 6 laps, and I would still come out drier than I was at the end of the parade! At one point I looked in the backseat and there were at least 4 inches of water standing in the floorboards! Not to mention the copious amounts of confetti that some jerk threw into the car. I'm not even going to talk about the Silly String that some chick decided to spray all over the side of my car (I had a grand time picking all of that off today!).
By the end of the parade, all of us were chattering our teeth and I had the heat blasting in the Biscuit Boat! Queens were bailing water out of the backseat, like a demented scene from a Gay Pride version of the Titanic!
But despite the inclement weather and the idiots (and gods) trashing my car, a good time was had by all. It's one parade that I won't soon forget! It was great to see the support that was given by those standing by. Even the protesters got a little smile on their faces as I tried to pelt them with a Frisbee!
I think I said it last year when I reported about the parade, but I'll say it again: it's a great feeling to be able to drive down the biggest street in your hometown and be applauded by hundreds and thousands of people! To know that these people are not applauding because they know me or like me-- that these people may have never eaten at the Biscuit or maybe never heard of it... they weren't applauding for any reason other than the fact that they were proud of our community-- that in this day and age, people had the guts to walk down Peachtree Street and hold hands, and kiss and dress up in costumes and not be ashamed of who or what they were. They were also cheering for the thousands of people that had the guts to do the same thing year after year, back in the days when people got rocks thrown at them and lost jobs because of rumors of their participation. I don't take it for granted for a second that generations of gay men and women paved the road for me. They used to walk in this parade as a statement. I know it wasn't easy for them. I remember in my own lifetime how reputations were ruined; careers were lost- just because someone was spotted on the news attending or participating in the Pride parade. Today it's more of a celebration and a memorial to those generations that went before us. I've had it pretty easy, but I know that I was lucky. I had a family that accepted me; I found friends and a community that not only accepted me, but celebrated me.
And that's what I focused on throughout the parade route. All of those cheering people on the sidelines reminded me that I have a lot of reasons to be proud. And I cheered at everyone of them right back!