Last Sunday marked the 18th annual Madison Pride parade, the centerpiece of the annual Magic Picnic for the city's LGBT community. The route looped through the Bassett neighborhood and down West Washington Avenue before concluding in Brittingham Park, festival central.
The history of the festival, going back to its beginnings at the old Hotel Washington three decades ago, and of the parade, started by the Gay and Lesbian Visibility Alliance (GALvanize), are discussed in detail by Brian Ponce, the entertainment coordinator of Madison Pride. Encouraging people to attend the event, he wrote:
Since the 1970s, out of appreciation for his customers and support for the LGBT community here in Madison, Rodney [Scheel] created the MAGIC Picnic that was held at Madison Pride's current location, Brittingham Park (only a hop and skip and jump to the hotel, where a gas station now sits). It is why we continue to celebrate it there, and why, for as long as I'm a board member, it will always be in some way a part of the weekend celebration.
Pam Jacobson and Tim O'Brien are still among us, as are many members of the group GALVanize, and their contributions to this community are felt and resonated to this very day. In October of 1987, Pam and Tim O'Brien were separately attending the March on Washington. Upon returning to Madison, Jacobson explored the possibility of organizing a local march, and began searching for others to help organize the event. At the same time, O'Brien was also discussing the idea of organizing a march. Mutual friends connected them, and their meeting resulted in the formation of the Madison Pride March Committee.
One participant in this year's parade -- which featured an inaugural appearance by Bucky Badger -- observed the procession with a video camera from the back of the vehicle leading members of the Madison Gay Hockey Association. This video clip follows.
More photos from the parade may be viewed here, with a closer focus on a participating group of silver-jumpsuited Ukrainians to be found here and here. There is also considerable ongoing discussion and critiques about this year's Pride weekend and parade at TDPF.