Austin Pride celebrating 25th Anniversary this weekend

On Friday afternoon, Fiesta Gardens started to take shape.  It's the setting for this weekend's Austin Pride Festival.

"All of our tents have finally been set.  I have our stage crew setting up our sound and lighting and our enormous L.E.D. wall that will be playing live video," said Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation President, Paul Huddleston.

Huddleston says Fiesta Gardens is where it all started 25 years ago in 1990.

Huddleston joined the foundation in 2011 and he's seen the Pride Celebration grow in just these last few years.

 
"I've seen it grow from around 2,000 or so attendees to thousands upon thousands upon thousands of attendees, each year it seems to be getting bigger," he said.
 
The country is a much different place than it was 25 years ago.
 
"25 years ago you know in 1990, in Austin, Texas...it was still a liberal city for all intents and purposes.  But the attitudes and the...I want to say the attitudes and the outlook or the view on the LGBTQ community has changed drastically even in just the last couple of years," Huddleston said.
 
Actually the country is a much different place than it was just last year.
   
This summer the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality.
 
Huddleston says it's a huge step forward but there's still work to do.
 
"We're celebrating that and we're also bringing awareness to things that we still have to work for like the employment non-discrimination act, trans-gender rights, the growing rates of suicide among LGBT teens," Huddleston said.
 
This weekend the festival at Fiesta Gardens will feature live music stages, attractions and a family zone.
 
And the funds go back into the community.
 
"Since 2012, we've donated over $75,000 to other non-profits in Austin through our Austin Pride Cares program," he said.
 
After the festival, the Pride Parade will draw thousands to downtown.  And unlike previous years, there's bound to be plenty of couples who have tied the knot.
 
"There will be a lot of married people here, I just heard one of our vendors is actually going to be marrying people on the grounds so it's going to be an interesting day, I can't wait to see how it turns out," Huddleston said.
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