One year of planning and $80,000 is what Augusta Pride organizers say it took to put on this year's celebration. And they say, the fourth time's the charm.
Takya Browning, with the Augusta Pride Organization explains “we have gone from a one day festival to a two-day event. So, this is our first year doing our two day event and it is a massive undertaking.”
One that fellow board member, Lonzo Smith, says is nothing shy of a labor of love for the LGBT community. “to rejoice and to show what diversity, to show what love means; to honor the people that we've lost, to honor the people that we've loved; and to show everyone in this community that we are here,” Smith says.
Him and a group of volunteers helped load and unloading material, set up tents for the vendors and took care of other last minute touches for the kick-off event Beats on Broad.
After losing his partner of 20 years in March, Smith says this year's dance party and Pride celebration has a more important meaning.
“It's important for us to realize that love is love, no matter the shape, form or fashion that it is. It's an opportunity for you to come out and support me, come out and support your community, come out and support the people in your life who may be questioning their sexuality,” he adds.
And while board members and volunteers scrambled to check and double check the sound system and party areas around the Commons, a busy Takya Browning stopped to give an official invitation. “It's Friday. Everybody is welcome. Gay, straight, it doesn't matter. This is a party,” she says.