Motor City Pride weekend is here! I was talking to a bunch of friends last night and everyone is so excited - it's like we live in a different city. Last year I was in San Francisco for their Pride, and while I readily admit the level of planning and number of festivities was much greater there, the anticipation for the event in Detroit this year seems about on par with that. And if that's not progress I don't know what is.
The Pride Project was an overwhelming success. Forty-five independent businesses from Corktown, Midtown, Woodbridge, Eastern Market, New Center and the Central Business District participated, and together as the Greater Downtown Independent Merchants we raised over $7000 for Motor City Pride. The group is a sponsor at the Gold Level, the highest sponsorship level this year!
Please visit our extra special website to see all the great downtown businesses that chipped in. Visit them this weekend while you are out and about, and throughout the year! They are our friends and a fantastically supportive community, and I can't send them enough love.
OK, so onto the festivities! There is a lot going on at Hart Plaza, most notably a bunch of us city-dwellers will be hanging out at our booth in Sponsor's Row, just as you enter the festival. Stop by and say hello!
But there's also a lot going around downtown of special interest for Pride attendees as well. Here is a rundown of things you'll want to take advantage of this weekend.
Visit my little contribution to downtown's alternative gay scene tonight! The very special Motor City Pride edition of Doggy Style takes place at the Park Bar from 9-2, with a painstakingly curated mix of highly entertaining music videos. All the cool kids will be there!
If you head downtown for the Saturday component of Pride, it's a quick two blocks to the Grand Trunk Pub. They are always a good spot to visit and as a special extra for Pride, DJ GM (or as you may know him better, Greg Mudge, proprietor of Mudgie's Deli in Corktown) will be spinning all afternoon and evening. They have a great patio, great eats and if you are a beer lover, they have fifteen craft beers on tap. Which are also great!
Of special interest, Saturday is the date for the annual Historic Indian Village Home and Garden Tour, which is always lovely and you can hit before Pride starts Saturday afternoon. Tickets are $20 there is more info at their website. See Sunday's activities for more info on tours of the Villages!
Saturday night, another mainstay on the downtown scene, Fierce Hot Mess, is having its third anniversary party AND Official Pride Afterparty at Oslo! "Messy dance floor decadence, fierce music and hot people, converging in one place to create a distinct Detroit experience that is sure to be remembered." Our favorite dj's, Mike Trombley and Chuck Hampton (aka Gay Marvine) always play the most amazing music!
If you are looking to mix things up on Saturday night, you can also check out the Cupcake Collective at the Old Miami, where they present All OUT Detroit: A Very Special Cruise. They will be playing electro, disco, house, hip-hop and soul all night, and part of the proceeds go to benefit the Ruth Ellis Center.
Sunday morning is the all-new Pride parade! It starts at Griswold north of Lafayette (think Lafayette Coney Island area) and goes down to Hart Plaza. Who knows what it will be like? Probably awesomely home-grown. I'll be walking with the "Robert M. Nelson presents a Salute to Robert M. Nelson, with Robert M. Nelson and the Detroit friends of Robert M. Nelson" float. Who is Robert M. Nelson? Find out at 11am on Sunday!
When you are at the Pride festival, make sure you check out the DJ set by Macho City's Mike Trombley at 5 on Sunday!
Wind down after Pride at Cafe D'Mongo's! Larry is opening especially for us "in honor of your parade" and I expect a lively afterparty at everyone's fave watering hole will be the perfect way to end a fun weekend. Come by for drinks and Robert M. Nelson will show you how he puts the "easy" in "speakeasy."
Some of the sponsors in the Pride Program are making special offers just for Motor City Pride attendees.
Wheelhouse Detroit is located right on the riverfront, and you can rent a bike and do a little exploring. It's so fun to bike around downtown and Sunday in particular is supposed to be GORGEOUS. If you show your Pride sticker (you know, the one they give you when you enter Motor City Pride) you can get 20% off rentals, so two hours is only $10 and a full day is only $25! Those Wheelhouse girls are the best.
Avalon is giving a 10% discount off your purchase for the weekend if you tell the retail staff a piece of local or national GLBT trivia. Which will be really easy to do if you read Tim Retzloff's great op-ed in this week's excellent issue of Between the Lines. Buy cookies and bring them to us at Hart Plaza!
Inside Detroit, the downtown's unofficial chamber of commerce and home of the Detroit Segway tour, has a great retail shop inside the Welcome Center in Merchant's Row. They sell tons of unique Detroit apparel and locally-made items, and they are offering 15% off in honor of Pride weekend!
While you are at Pride, be sure to stop by the booth for The Villages of Detroit because they are offering three FREE one-hour bus tours that leave from Hart Plaza. It won't be as in-depth as the Indian Village Home & Garden Tour on Saturday, but it will give you a great overview of all the Villages, and there will be one stop to visit a gay-owned home on the tour!
Also in the home tour category (but separate from Pride), Corktown is presenting their Historical Home & Garden Tour on Sunday from 12-5. It's not specifically for Pride but who doesn't love a home tour?
Finally, when you are at Pride, stop by the booth for the Spirit of Hope Church, where our friend Pastor Matt is running a GLBT trivia contest. Answer questions on gay politics, music, society and religion and get a chance to win a gift card from a Detroit Pride Project business!
That's all I've got for now. See you at Motor City Pride!