Major Changes to Pride; Lee Park Charging Entry

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Dallas Gay Pride is getting an interesting twist this year, in a PDF file (download pdf here) recently released by the Dallas Tavern Guild (the people that put on the Alan Ross Dallas Pride Parade), there will now be a $5 charge for entry into Lee Park. This has long been a traditional end to the festivities with the parade ending in Lee Park and the annual march down by parade attendees.

The PDF document states the following, “This year we will fence in Lee Park and there will be a small general admission fee of $5.00 per person to attend the festival. We will also add these restrictions to our festival. No coolers allowed in the park. No alcohol brought into the park and no glass containers in the park.”

However it does mention this little tid bit that I found interesting, “There have also been multiple incidents with hard liquor being brought into the park. We have no permit for anything alcoholic except beer and so we would be in violation of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission laws on alcohol in public spaces. That could cause us to lose our permit for future festival celebrations.”

Does this mean that this year we will be charged to get into a park, and then sold beer on top of it when typically we could bring our own? I am also wondering what this does to the whole nature of pride, sure there are many intoxicated people at Lee Park, but there are also many families who may  not want to pay the cover. I am just not so sure that a cover is the answer.

This hasn’t been the latest in Drama surrounding the gay community with events at Lee Park. There was also the recent Easter in the Park drama which has since been solved. What do you guys think of these new rules and the $5 fee to get in?

54 thoughts on “Major Changes to Pride; Lee Park Charging Entry”

  1. I think it’s a horrible mistake and will keep people from attending the post-parade festivities.

    But I guess it’s great news for the members of the Dallas Tavern Guild if they’re the ones supplying the beer.

  2. From the first paragraph: “…there will *not* be a $5 charge for entry into Lee Park.”

    Might want to proof-read before publishing the article, especially when it contradicts the headline.

  3. Last year I heard of several complaints from vendors, who said after the parade ended and the park got swamped, people would just camp out in their vendor booths and refuse to leave when asked! Not sure if a cover charge is the answer, but maybe it’ll help. The parade does need to be earlier so the festivities at the park can go on longer than just the last couple of hours. If I was a vendor, I wouldn’t want to spend so much on a booth and only get an hour or two of a crowd. Unfortunately to me it seems that the festivities in the park is just an afterthought to the parade. As a major city, we should be able to pull some better entertainment to wrap up the park festivities. Especially if a cover charge will happen now!

  4. Dallas Pride already has one of if not the lowest attendance of any of the larger cities prides and even some smaller cities have a much larger attendance. I don’t understand why Dallas with its large gay community can’t quite seem to get the whole Pride weekend thing right. I would think they would try to come up with ideas to bring in an even larger crowd rather than charge a cover to make up for any losses they may have for low attendance. It really boggles my mind! Something has to be done. Dallas could make a lot of money off of out of towners visiting for Pride if we were able to throw a fun enough party!

  5. I agree OLS…Dallas, having an extremely large gay community, you would think they would get their act together. This is nothing more than the bar owners trying to make a buck off the gay community–AGAIN. THEY just don’t get it. Do something for the community instead of ripping them off! Take pride in your establishments — burn holes still in the carpet at Round Up, dirt all over JRs – just look at how the white on outside looks with all the dirt. Look at how nasty the strip has gotten and how long it took for them to do anything about it. Look at SF, Chicago, LA, New York, etc.. and their parades. I actually leave Dallas to get a sense of community in other cities. They use major streets for their parades. This will be the nail in the coffin for some people not to even go think about going to the strip even for pride weekend. Nice goin!

  6. @Oak Lawn Stud: It’s because the bar owners and or those who are incharge of the events are cheap. They ALWAYS say ” We can’t afford this., We can’t afford that”. It’s not they can’t afford it, it’s just they don’t want too. You want to know whats really Funny. The Central Gay Pride Event in San Luis O’Bispo California better known as SLO-Pride ( which by the way ) is in a small town and community books such acts as Margret Cho, Kathy Griffin, Wanda Sykes etc to come and entertain at their event. Now wouldn’t it seem likely that Dallas could afford people like that to come and entertain at our event? Which would definitely spark interest in the community to attend such an event. But NO, they’d rather have the same act year, after year, after year. We are the ONLY large city in the Nation that does NOT bring in star-studded acts to help celebrate Gay Pride. This is just another reason why our community is slowly but surely dying off and fading away. We celebrate our PRIDE everytime we walk into these owners Clubs and spend our money night after night. You would think THEY would empty a little of ALL the millions we spend each month into a fund that would allow “OUR” event to be worthy of such great performers. Maybe that’s it. Maybe they don’t think “WE” are worth it. What would they do if ” WE” decided THEY were no longer worth it and stopped supporting them all together? Just a Thought!

  7. @Matt, I actually lived in SLO for about a year, and you are very right, even though it is a small community, their pride was much better put together. I just hope they don’t have Cazwell as the entertainer this year, we have seen enough of him!

  8. People shouldn’t have to pay to show support or their pride. If its money they want they can take donations, but charging people won’t make people want to go.

  9. huge mistake charging to do something it always been free no way, theres people coming from different places, citys….. put that in mind i might not go thats sad…..

  10. I have to say, Compared to other prides around the country, Dallas Sucks, Very unorganized and the people putting it on are doing so , because they want the pomp and circumstance that goes with directing it. I deffinatly will not attend a pride festival that charges to get in. Come on Dallas, Lets do something right. This is the worst idea ever.


  12. I agree. Pride has become so-so in Dallas. The whole point isn’t about the “party,” but at the same time, people DO celebrate good times-aka most holidays- with alcohol. I don’t understand why there has to be a ban on this. People will find a way to bring it in anyway I’m sure. Plus, the cover pay loses another aspect of it all – the idea that we are coming together to celebrate our freedom as gays. Hmmm…I think a celebration like this should also call for a “freedom” to come together without monetary aspects involved.

  13. I don’t know what all the bru ha-ha is about. People have been cruising the crossroad every weekend paying $5 or more for parking and then go into their bar of choice and pay for drinx too. Now, all of a sudden, they’re offended by this? Grow the f-@k up!

  14. Everyone is at fault here, not just DTG and the vendors. If people were to act like adults and behaved accordingly , we wouldn’t have to hear about how messy we are. Some mentioned that attendance at the parade and festival is lower than it is at any other small town’s festivities. Well, guess what? No one wants to be standing around drunken idiots who trash the streets and park faster than they get trashed themselves. Also the Dallitude EVERYONE ( young, old, rich, poor, black, white, red, brown, yellow or purple) throws, as well as the lack of respect for eachother, makes for a lousy community that no one feels proud of. Yes attitude is everywhere, not just in Dallas, but not one of us seem to want to improve ours, so we have no reason to bitch about how awful our community is.

    1. I would say all of our leadership organizations are corrupt. They are all in it to line their own pockets. They are going to charge an entry to get into Lee Park so that no one can bring in alcohol. Guess who runs the DTG? The bar owners. Guess who profits from no alcohol in the park except for what is sold? The bar owners.

      They run some really lame events, how many more times is someone going to bring Cazwell to town. Sure he is great and people like him, but there is so much more talent out there that we surely shouldn’t be seeing him every 2 months.

  15. I agree with what everyone is saying on both sides of the fence. Only thing I will like to say is to remind you that this is YOUR community. You don’t like something about it, then stand up and do something about it. Voice your opinion. DTG isn’t going to read this blog. Call them, approach them, share ideas, become a part of the team… be progressive.

    And the $5 cover charge and no beer allowed stinks rotten eggs. Bring in the big guns, dont make it all about the men, and maybe then I’ll justify the cover charge.

  16. it goes both ways here, which makes it hard to decide whats right.i dont see why there is a cover to get in the park if they arent allowing alcohol to be brought in. couldnt we simply go somewhere else and have the same type of fun. now i do see why they want to charge for the park…wait no i dont see.

  17. I think the $5 charge on top of selling beer is a big mistake. I agree that the vendors need more space to sell things, but most in the gay community do not live there and the tolls and gas alone are $. The freedom to do what we want in our community was the joy of Lee park. I think the $5 charge,although small is enough to keep me away. What next? selling tickets to see the parade?

  18. and another thing, YES to the above comment. WHY IS THE PARADE AND EVENTS ALL ABOUT THE MEN.

    IT GETS OLD. and why do they always have to be naked? this is about equal rights… some children coming to support their parents.. dont need to see all that

  19. For my friends and me, Lee Park has been more of a place to sit down and delay going home than anything special. Why the hell should we pay $5 just to fight crowds to sign up for mailing lists and pick up Green Mountain fliers? I know $5 isn’t really that much money, but it’s a ridiculous amount of money to pay to do not much of anything.

  20. For God’s sake, it is sponsored by the “TAVERN GUILD”, or, roughly translated, “CAVEN”, you know the blood suckers of the gay community. You gotta give em credit, Caven screws the gay community while convincing us how lucky we are to have them.

  21. itsz not qonna be fun like the years yall had the parade everybody isz qonna wanna brinq there own cooler instead of payinq the amount of the cost of the beersz yall charqe for n i just think nobody wont really qo since you cant brinq your own coolers and have to pay a charge just to qet in

  22. I have a couple of ideas. About the “Cover Charge” don’t call it that, call it a recommended donation instead. Granted not everyone will pay for it but a vast majority will pay. If you appeal to peoples good side they will usually fork over the cash. About the no coolers situation, set up a second line for entry into the park and inspect the coolers’ contents. Turn away the hard liquor bottles. If they want to bring in beer let them but make it cans mandatory since we can’t have glass bottles. I for one bring my own water and Gatorade to this event and do not feel that I should pay for a whole case of water when buying 1 bottle. Just use your common sense people please.

  23. Many and many times I spent my vacation in cities where Gay Prides were, to help our community staying with gay-friendly people, families and not only staying with gay men that I can find in bars and clubs. In 2010 I was i Germany and in June 2011 I was in Finland: the Prides as always ended FREE in a park plenty of happy citizens and joyfully tourists. I’m going to San Antonio on September and I planned to stay in Dallas for the Pride Parade but I’ve now a lot of dubts because of the $5 charge for entry into Lee Park that will stop all the families and the majority of not-gay people … so probably I will not be in Dallas, sorry. Ciao.

  24. The Tavern Guild is a nonprofit organization and charging $5 seems reasonable to pay for the huge expense it costs to put on the parade and support the beneficiary. I say we will have to pull up our big girl panties on this one…it is a small price to pay for pride.

  25. I have attened pride in S.F., Salt Lake City, Sacramento and Las Vegas and never have I paid a fee. I have always paid for the beer since we weren’t allowed to bring it in.

  26. Want to know where a great Pride is?! Pensacola Florida! Cleveland Ohio even has a better pride than Dallas. Dallas does the same thing every year. I’m not paying $5 to do a whole lot of nothing in a park sweating balls. I’ll watch the parade like I do every year and leave. Why? Because I live here. But every May, Pensacola pride is the place to be!! They really know how to equally focus on events for men and women. If you haven’t gone Dallas ppl, GO!! It’s only a 9 hour drive and its ridiculously WORTH it.

  27. I think its not a big deal. Come on, are you all that cheap? It’s just 5 dollars! It was going to happen sometime. As for the beer- is it the end of the world? NO. Come on, at least try to show that you don’t need to be drinking alcohol to have a good time. Geez…

  28. Been going to Pride every year since I moved here 11 years ago, been great every year now there is a cover to hang out with others and no coolers? Seems like someone is greedy. Wonder if the protesters will have to pay to yell @ us?

  29. I think its bullshit! You know damn well theyre gonna charge us a cover and then sell us ridiculously high beer inside. Our group is seriously second guessing even going this year due to all this ridiculousness! Bad Move By Dallas!!!

  30. The five dollar cover charge isn’t the issue here..the fellowship after the parade is, but will be coming to an end since the cover charge will be in effect. I for one will not pay the cover charge to do nothing but wonder around in a park! I honestly think this is going to hurt future events in Dallas..

  31. This is not a good idea to get the attendance up! In recent years I travel to Vancouver, DC, NYC, & San Antonio to really enjoy the spirit of Gay Pride! Year after year I continue to attend Dallas’s Pride celebration because I live here; but at the same time I walk away at the end going “that was mediocre at best.” I don’t have a problem with the $5.00 entrance fee to cover the costs of using the park (security, cleanup, etc), however why create another reason for people not to attend?

    A SUGGESTION: I would support the organizers (DTG) to limit the beer/alcohol in the park to sales in a “beer tented area” then take a percentage of the profits to cover the expenses of the park and event activities and leave the festivities open to all.

  32. The $5 is not the issue, it simply the lack of services in the park. Overpriced water, beer and food, but very few food & drink vendors. Is this going to improve this year? With all the great food services in the area, we should have a wider choice of options.

  33. I will not be attending the party at Lee Park after the parade! If I wanted to go pay a cover at the bar and buy their (overpriced) beer, I would do so, AT THE BAR! And besides it just doesn’t seem right to have to pay a cover, to go to a public park, to hang out with my friends and have a good time, and have the money go to the clubs, and NOT the city, to pay the workers that protect us there, and clean it up when everyone is gone! Thanks, but no thanks!

  34. I was told that they are fencing it in because of TABC laws… so I went searching for the law on the sites and everywhere I could look. I found nothing mentioning this. I think it’s just to line pockets and make sure that everyone has to pay. It IS ridiculous… even if it is “just $5” as some people are saying. People drive from all over for this = $ in gas. People have to pay for parking already= $ in parking. People have to pay for drinks/food/ect at the parade= $ for parade. To charge people to just sit in a park after the event on top of everything else is going to far.

    My friends and I have already decided that after the parade we’ll just go bar hopping for a bit and head back to our town. We’ll see how many others do this as well. I really think it’s going to hurt their numbers. Taking advantage seems to do that.

    1. Sadly the Dallas Tavern Guild is ran by the people who also run the bars you will be going to. That is what stinks about this whole thing to me, no matter what you do, they really don’t care. It doesn’t hurt them if you don’t go to the park, they will just make money at their bars instead.

  35. I think the charge is ridiculous…. If it was being used to support something worthwild than fine but it should be based on a donation not a flat out fee. I have no problem with the no alcohol but why no cooler. Make it a small one and have those at the gate check it for alcohol, or glass…. is that tooo much trouble. There are some of us that dont drink and would like sodas or gatoraide or just water. And I refuse to pay for a drink the price I can buy an entire case for….. And there are a lot of families like you said that wont be able to share this time because of the expense. I personally look for a poor turn out compared to years past. Good luck with this one Tavern Guild… I know I for one wont be attending after the parade and because I bring my family wont be attending the bars to line their pockets either……Maybe if we just protest like we are basically doing anyway for our rights and freedoms it wont happen again next year…..$$$$$$$$ is not always the answer. I travel 125 miles for this event, have to pay for a hotel the night before, gas to and from and meals. And now this…. NOT HAPPENING.

  36. I get it, but I mean why not just keep it free and check coolers for hard alcohol? Last year I met so many people at the end of the parade. This year, I was sad to see so few people on the lawn. The vendors were fewer and it just didn’t have the same vibe. I hope things get better.

  37. PS I feel like the fat cats figured they would charge the LGBT community for something that has been free for years. Just wait till Gay Marriage is approved…..$100 to rent the courthouse/$50 just to get IN the courthouse?! You know they want it, so hey let’s tax the hell out of them!! Sorry cowards!!!

  38. I think the $5.00 cover charge is the last straw. $3.00 bottles of water, and the heat, are a recipe for trouble. I don’t feel like its the community pride event. It feels like an opportunity for the bars and commercial interests to gouge patrons.
    I have had to stop going to the parade because I can’t afford it any more. I’m unemployeed and can’t afford to feed all those hungry hands grabbing for every buck they can wring from me. Its hard to feel proud when I’m feeling exploited.