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Pride Parade Moving Downtown


capnmcbarnacle

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I had heard rumblings for some time, but the Pride Parade says they will be moving downtown.  Just kind of curious as to the neighborhood reaction.  I always went up the street and watched from Westheimer.  We regularly had a party, like many in the neighborhood, and had lots of people come from other neighborhoods to watch the parade.  I won't be driving downtown just to watch a parade and don't think most people around my neighborhood -- who all loved the parade -- will do it either.  Such a shame.  It was great having a parade in an actual neighborhood instead of the sterile environment downtown.  It was like a bunch of block parties going on and you can't really transfer that to downtown.    Oh well, such is change.

 

I'm also guessing the parade comes back in a few years.  I can't imagine this will be well received.

 

 

 

See the link

 

http://www.chron.com/entertainment/article/Houston-s-Pride-parade-to-move-downtown-5793973.php?cmpid=bna

 

 

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This is a terrible idea. Everything about this thread is terrible.

Agreed.. I'm all for a new festival/parade to boost activity downtown, but not at the expense of an established neighborhood that has supported the parade for years.

And wtf? No FPSF! Why can't they hold it in Hermann Park or Memorial Park?

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This is a terrible idea. A huge part of the appeal of Pride is everything that goes on *around* it- the bars, shops, restaurants, house parties etc.

 

FPSF leaving the city seems terrible too.

 

Everything about this thread is terrible.

 

It seems like an asinine move.  They are moving to accommodate crowds that won't be showing up to the new place. Parades downtown tend to feel very antiseptic and, dare I say, establishment.  Let alone the fact that there won't be gajillions of residents throwing parties along with bunches of bars and restaurants to hang out in pre and post parade.   The locales of these places have a symbiotic relationship with the events  -- one isn't the same without the other.  Watching a flatbed with  5 people devoted to a particular kink roll down a six lane road in a canyon of skyscrapers is going to be a bit jarring. 

 

Pride is the closest thing Houston has to a Mardi Gras parade where it rolls through a residential neighborhood and is supported along the way by locals who live along the way (and many others, of course).  I I can't think of another parade that isn't downtown.  And none of those parades feel anything like Pride, not just because of the content, but because there is no sense of a neighborhood down there.

 

I hope I'm wrong and 200,000 people turnout downtown.  And then they move back to Montrose.

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They have kicked this proposal around for years. At first it involved a wonky parade route around the four sides of the reflective pool by city hall- yipes. I guess once they got permission to go down Allen parkway it was more appealing.

I'm sad to see it move. I live a block from the route. That parade was always run with dazzling efficiency-- every detail. I loved it.

Sad also for all the businesses and bars and restaurants that supported the parade for so many years will probably find it harder to reap the benefits as they did when it was held on Westheimer route.

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It's sad to see it move for sentimental reasons, but in all honesty it really has outgrown Montrose. All the gay establishments on Westheimer have disappeared, and the neighborhood has given in to money. Given this and dispersement of gays throughout the city, it makes sense to put it downtown, where there is infrastructure to handle the massive and ever-growing crowds of people.

 

I do miss the ones from 10 or 12 years ago when there were no barricades and you could walk right up to the parade and even join in. Now it feels like a corporate event sponsored largely by Fortune 500 companies. Maybe it is time for a spin-off guerrilla pride parade. 

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The majority of gay bars have never been on Westheimer. I can really only think of Mary's, Chances/Barn and Chutes. Those have all been replaced by places that gays still frequent.

 

I hear you.  But ... it occurs to me to wonder if people are trying to maintain a tradition while also transitioning into a time in which bars are no longer such a central part of a "lifestyle" or of a community.

 

Just a thought.  Its OK if people disagree.  But, to me, the 2010s seem like a very different era culturally than the 1960-70s.  For one thing, I no longer see male hustlers walking shirtless down Westheimer between Hillcroft and Fondren as I did then, with their t-shirts tucked into the back of middle of their jeans.  I mention that just because it strikes me as an obvious change.  Perhaps that observation is a manifestation of a more general phenomenon ... part of which may be that pride parades will not serve the needs of as many gay people in the future as before.

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A six block parade through the financial district?

If one is going to plan a parade in downtown, that seems like a kinda boring route. Why not run it up through market square where there is infrastructure to eat and drink?

I guess that recent approval to allow food trucks with propane in downtown came at just the right time for everyone to get ready...... Shocking how these "coincidences" happen in government, eh?

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The bad part of having it near market square is the fact the parade will have to cross the light rail line at some point and would limit the height of the floats.

 

Not sure why it would necessarily have to cross a rail line just by virtue of passing by Market Square, especially if we're only talking about a 6-7 block parade route (which seems ridiculously short; I wonder if the Chron may have gotten that wrong).

Edited by Houston19514
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All other considerations aside, it seems really strange to schedule a parade along a street that is lined with office buildings and would normally have next to zero pedestrians around on a weekend evening.  I predict this will be as successful as changing the International Festival to "I-Fest" (gag) and moving it to the Reliant Stadium parking lot.  

 

One has to wonder how exactly people sign off on ideas that are obviously doomed to fail, such as holding a parade along a street of empty office buildings and parking garages where spectators will have to pay to park.  

 

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Doesn't the Thanksgiving Day Parade go through downtown?  Downtown is no stranger to parades.  I'm not sure why people think downtown is not a good place for a parade in general.

 

Now as to the fact that it is the Pride Parade in specific, I think moving it away from Montrose is a sad decision.  This is where it has always been.

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the parade has gotten too big for its current route, and frankly it has gotten dangerous.  hopefully this helps.  and i think people are forgetting that in a few short years there will be many more people living downtown.  so you can go party at high rises on market square, or by the ball park, or in one of the sky houses, and then walk to the parade.   or you can stay at a fancy new hotel if you are from out of town or the suburbs.  or even better, you can party outside of downtown and then get to the parade from one of several light rail lines that will be operating by then (hopefully).  

 

admittedly this route isn't the best to interact with the new residential, but the route can easily be changed year to year.  imagine throwing and catching beads from apartments along the route -- I think that would be really cool.  it will, or course, be sad for it to leave the neighborhood, but looking towards the future and the great things i envision for downtown, i think this makes sense.  

 

all of that said, it better still be at night.  

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the parade has gotten too big for its current route, and frankly it has gotten dangerous.  hopefully this helps.  and i think people are forgetting that in a few short years there will be many more people living downtown.  so you can go party at high rises on market square, or by the ball park, or in one of the sky houses, and then walk to the parade.   or you can stay at a fancy new hotel if you are from out of town or the suburbs.  or even better, you can party outside of downtown and then get to the parade from one of several light rail lines that will be operating by then (hopefully).  

 

admittedly this route isn't the best to interact with the new residential, but the route can easily be changed year to year.  imagine throwing and catching beads from apartments along the route -- I think that would be really cool.  it will, or course, be sad for it to leave the neighborhood, but looking towards the future and the great things i envision for downtown, i think this makes sense.  

 

all of that said, it better still be at night.  

 

In what sense is the parade too big and dangerous?  Is it longer than the parade route?  Are there a lot of muggings?

 

I thought of another example besides the International Festival where relocation to an inappropriate site was fatal.  Remember the Westheimer Street Festival?  It was huge for years, but when they tried to rebrand it "WestFest" *gag* and move it to Eleanor Tinsley Park it folded after like one year.  

 

I still maintain that moving that parade to vacant downtown streets with expensive vendors and paid parking will kill it off in a year or two.  I'd lay money on it.  This may be heresy, but if it really is such a problem having a parade, could it be changed to a festival?  Would that not make crowd control etc easier?

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In what sense is the parade too big and dangerous?  Is it longer than the parade route?  Are there a lot of muggings?

 

I thought of another example besides the International Festival where relocation to an inappropriate site was fatal.  Remember the Westheimer Street Festival?  It was huge for years, but when they tried to rebrand it "WestFest" *gag* and move it to Eleanor Tinsley Park it folded after like one year.  

 

I still maintain that moving that parade to vacant downtown streets with expensive vendors and paid parking will kill it off in a year or two.  I'd lay money on it.  This may be heresy, but if it really is such a problem having a parade, could it be changed to a festival?  Would that not make crowd control etc easier?

Ten years ago, you could still walk up and down Westheimer the night of the parade.  Now it is too packed to move in certain sections, and becomes a shoving match with thugs trying to start fights.  It used to be something that teenagers could attend (and even little kids could in some sections).  Now there is no way I would let my kids go because of the size and make-up of the crowd.  Sections of it are now no different than the quarter at mardi gras.  

 

That said, the parade set-up on the feeder streets in the evenings is still fun and not dangerous.  

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I'm out of town right now but someone emailed me that there were protests last night at Montrose and Westheimer?

 

KTRK's 10pm newscast showed what looked like only a handful of folks. Ray Hill was there, and they aired some brief comments from him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does the move have anything to do with the fallout from when that lady was trampled by a horse?

There was a lot of talk about the parade moving among the residents that gathered at National Night Out last week. Some of people there were former "movers and shakers" of earlier parades. These people still are in the know. I didn't hear one positive comment about the move- all most all the talk speculated about economic and traffic reason for the move. --- there was quite a bit of speculation that a second ( dual?) parade that is being talked ( planned?) down the original route on Westheimer. NO ONE brought up the mounted police accident with that poor women from EMCA. Plus, it seems a safe bet that the mounted patrol wil be used at the new parade route.

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I don't know whether moving it downtown, or keeping it where it's always been is right, but I know one thing, the worst thing that could happen is two competing parades.

 

Oh, I don't know. Think about the possibility of RuPaul coming out on stage and then saying "Parade Off For Your Life!"

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They need to have it downtown.  You take the rail or a bus don't worry about parking, and there is much more room to see the parade.  I bet a lot of food vendors it s just a better idea.  In Montrose there were fights, people urinated in there yards, nowhere to park.  They are tired of it.  Ray Hill needs to back to jail.  He thinks he is the father of all mess up druggies that keep going in and out of jail. 

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I was at #'s drinking with two of the original parade organizers one night. They think that the parade has gotten to be so corporate with every company having to have a presence there, that it belongs downtown.  :)

 

the parade used to be counter culture, now it's mainstream

 

(yes, i said that like it's a bad thing)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 7 months later...

I agree, I had the same reaction initially and I was impressed by the way things turned out. If you want a parade and some sense of organization, downtown is the way to go. If you want a free for all party, Montrose worked. They did a really good job transitioning from one format to another. The crowds were there, everyone was having a good time, it was relatively organized, cops maintained their presense but didn't really stop people from having fun. I saw plenty of people with open containers along the parade route not causing any problems. People still smoked up (basically openly). There were families with kids walking around.

 

A few pics I took from Smith and Lamar. 5 people got up on that bus stand and were up there for a few minutes before the cops came and asked them to get down, which they obliged. Also notice the Smith street garage was open and full of people getting a better view 5-6 stories up. And probably to some people's disappointment, that girl is not topless!

 

 

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Edited by skwatra
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • The title was changed to Pride Parade Moving Downtown

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