Opelika Christmas parade to feature LGBT+ float

WRBL Staff - OPELIKA, Ala. -- Pride on the Plains, an advocacy group for LGBT+, will be participating in the Opelika Christmas parade set for Saturday, December 2nd.

A spokesperson for Pride on the Plains says the group is thrilled about entering a float in the parade and hope to spread a message of love in a family friendly way to celebrate the holiday.

"We're very excited to be participating in Opelika's annual Christmas Parade this upcoming Saturday, and show to our area that the local LGBT+ community is strong and vibrant. We look forward to showcasing local talent on this year's Pride on the Plains float, including vocalists and visual artists, in a family-friendly manner suited for the holiday theme. We're dedicated to providing LGBT+ visibility in spreading a message of love and support, so to foster positive community development. Pride on the Plains and its supporters are eager to show what we have to offer this weekend, and join with our neighbors in celebrating this holiday season," said a spokesperson in a statement.

Two leaders of the organization met with News 3's Mikhaela Singleton in front of the Lee County Courthouse on Wednesday to share their thoughts on joining in this year's festivities.

"We'll have live singers performing some of your favorite Christmas carols, not giving too much away," says Pride on the Plains Marches/Parade Director Meghan Henry. "We're just looking forward to being a part of the Opelika Christmas parade, adhering to their standards, making this family friendly, community friendly, and showing all of Opelika and Lee County area that Pride on the Plains has a lot to offer in terms of talent and love... Our agenda is love and acceptance."

Pride on the Plains will have one of about 80 floats in the parade, organized by the Opelika Chamber of Commerce. Pride on the Plains President Chad Peacock says he hopes everyone will turn out to enjoy the parade, even if they don't agree with an LGBT+ float.

"This is the largest Opelika Christmas Parade, almost 80 floats now I think. We're only one float and in 30 seconds, we'll pass by and you don't have to worry about it anymore, and you might even be shocked at how accepting you might be once you see what we're doing. We're not trying to force anything down anyone's throats," he says.

Some families say they are concerned about having a Gay Pride group participating in a family event where young children will be present. Other families are excited about the addition to the parade.

Pam Powers Smith, with the Opelika Chamber says, "The float will follow the theme we have set for all floats this year. We do not discriminate against groups or organizations participating in the parade."

News 3 took to the streets to ask community members their thoughts on the parade's newest addition.

"Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, but I don't have a problem with it," says Kenyetta Strickland.

"This is America right?" asks Corey Kribbs while passing by the Lee County Courthouse. "They should be able to have whatever they want. As long as they're not hurting anybody else, fine with me."

"Being gay is against God's word," says local resident Patricia Hicks. "That's about all I can say about that, but they do have a right to have a float if they want to."

Pride on the Plains is a local, community-based non-profit group, with one overarching mission: empowerment, education, celebration, and inclusion among Alabama's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and allied peoples.

The 2017 Opelika Christmas Parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, December 2 in front of the Lee County Courthouse.


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