ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene Pride Alliance (APA) is making plans for it’s first parade coming this September.
The APA first formed in 2019 following the success of an impromptu pride celebration put on by Sam Hatton, who is now the board’s chair, and his group of friends.
“We just rented out a little park and thought it would be fine. We actually had over 500 people show up. It kind of drove home the point that there was a huge need for representation in this community,” says Hatton.
Though the celebration happened in 2019 and there have been gatherings throughout the past, 2021 will see Abilene’s first officially organized pride parade.
On September 25, Cypress Street in downtown Abilene will host a number of vendors and an entertainment stage, as loats, cars, and a full caravan parade down the street.
The celebration is being held in September rather than June (pride month) due to organization concerns from the APA.
“Just because we weren’t sure at the beginning of the year what was going to happen with COVID. And I don’t know if you know this or not, but West Texas, June and July can get really really hot. So holding that outside, especially an all day event, we didn’t feel it was really smart,” said Hatton.
The event is already receiving support from the Abilene community and businesses. Namely Mezamiz coffee shop, who chose the APA as the recipient of their most recent “Mission Monday,” in which they choose a local cause to receive a 10% donation of that day’s earnings.
“It’s exciting to be able to help the Abilene community, to be a part of it,” said shop owner Melinda Roberson.
This positive community response extends to the shop’s employees as well.
“I remember growing up and not seeing much here in Abilene, so seeing people come out and actually say something, it’s really nice,” says Mezamiz barista Andrew Fink.
Hatton says this September celebration will act as a grand debut for the Abilene Pride Alliance, but the main focus will be on the Abilenians who can come together, some for the first time, in the name of community and pride.
“We’re hoping to show every LGBTQIA person out there that they have representation, and we’re ready for this community to be a serious part of the larger community,” Hatton says.
Those who wish to donate to make the parade happen can do so at the Abilene Pride Alliance website.