As fall approaches, so does the return of the annual Macon Pride Festival. This year's festival is a seven-day long celebration beginning on Sept. 26 full of food, vendors, drag and, of course, pride.
This is Macon’s third pride festival since the festival's debut in 2019. The festival aims to promote visibility and acceptance in the Macon community.
“When I was growing up, I didn't have role models,” Macon Pride’s President Scott Mitchell said. "We need to make sure that people see other people like them, and know that they're not alone.”
Mitchell has been the president of Macon Pride since 2019 and founded the event with a group of friends.
Macon Pride’s kickoff event is an annual beer release party at Piedmont Brewery and Kitchen on Monday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Kelly Dixon will also be performing. Piedmont Brewery and Kitchen is located on Third Street.
Following the beer release, there will be a Macon Pride Mini-Film Festival on Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Douglass Theater, which costs $5, and a performance of "Broadway Does Pride" on Wednesday starting at 7:30 p.m. at The Grand Opera House. Tickets cost $10.
The festival continues with Karaoke in Third Street Park from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and "Friend of the Groom: A One Man Show Featuring Mark Mobley" at 8 p.m. on Thursday at Theater Macon.
Celebrity guest Angeria Paris VanMichaels, from season 14 of “RuPaul's Drag Race,” takes the stage at Macon Pride "Haus Party" drag show on Friday at Hargray Capitol Theater. The VIP meet and greet will begin at 7 p.m., doors open at 8 p.m., and the show begins at 9 p.m. VIP tickets cost $40 and general admission tickets cost $20.
The Pride in the Park festival begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Third Street Park and lasts until 9 p.m. Mitchell said the festival is expected to be huge this year. It will feature food trucks, concerts, comedians, drag shows, HIV testing and more.
“We've tried to pack as much as we possibly could into a seven-hour period. So it's going to be a jam-packed day. Hope everybody comes out and has a great time,” Mitchell said.
The festival closes with a multi-faith worship service and family picnic from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday at Coleman Hill.
According to Mitchell, the Macon Pride Festival is more than just a fun way to connect with the community. It also serves as a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“I've literally had people tell me that ‘because of things like Macon pride, you saved my life, like this has saved my life.’ I know those people mean that because I know what it was like growing up as an LGBT kid here in Middle Georgia,” Mitchell said. “To have an organization that is committed to making sure that the next generation doesn't feel like we felt, I mean, that's the greatest work I could possibly do in my life.”