Pride Celebration Bringing Thousands Into The Montrose

Photo by Galaga Gal

Lining up for a previous Houston Pride Parade
The LGBT Pride Celebration is bringing thousands of people into the Montrose this week. Several festivals of that size are held in that area each year, and the crowds bring some frustration, but also money and attention to Montrose.

This is the 35th year of the Pride Celebration, and it culminates with a parade this weekend. Jason Gallegos is an organizer.

"The actual celebration is going to be on Saturday, June 29th. The festival starts at one and the parade starts at 8 p.m."

This massive event draws thousands into Montrose.

"For me the fun part is, I think, planning it all, working with all the individual businesses and organizations that come to show up."

Ed: "For the businesses, it's kind of a double-edged sword, really, isn't it? I mean, they benefit, but they also have to deal with just the sheer number of people."

"We do have close to 65,000 attendees in the festival, so it's a big undertaking for all the businesses that do come, and the organizations. But it's also great exposure, showing them that they are there to support the LGBT community."

Thousands more descend on Montrose area for other festivals. Dana Kantalis is co-chair of this year's Greek Festival, which is set for the first weekend of October, and part of the job is to minimize impact on businesses and residents.

"Well, absolutely. I mean, we have to coordinate with the neighborhood because we are located, you know, in the Montrose neighborhood, just off Yoakum. So we have to coordinate with the Museum Business District just in our everyday of getting the word out, clearing out the streets, keeping up with the people, doing, you know, our recycling and it's a lot of preparation. And then once the weekend comes, it's a good time."

Joanna Palasota is on the Festa Italiana executive committee, and it's a balance to manage all those people and to benefit affected businesses in the St. Thomas area, where it's held October 10th through the 13th.

"We bring in over 17,000 people a year. With parking, you know, it's a very tight situation in the area in the area, as far as free parking. Also, you know, we have exhibitors that come on our campus, and we invite the businesses in the area to be exhibitors at our event so they can sell their wares, as well."

The Museum District Business Alliance helps coordinate big events like these. Mark Davis is president of the group, trying to minimize the effect of thousands of people on businesses in the Montrose.

"Well, that's exactly right. I'd say it's a welcome disruption because these events bring in so many people to the area and they bring in a lot of money to the businesses — even though for a day it is disruptive. But overall, it's really what makes this Museum/Montrose area so special."

The Pride Celebration is underway this week, and organizer Jason Gallegos says it's worth the hassle.

"Absolutely. I think it brings awareness and just shows you that we're everyday normal people as well."

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...