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LGBT Pride Festival Could Be Biggest Ever In Charlotte

http://66.225.205.104/20120824Pride.mp3

Charlotte's annual gay and transgender pride festival is this weekend. Organizers expect the event to draw about 10,000 more people than last year's. They say the passage of Amendment One and the Democratic National Convention are helping to draw people in. The Pride Charlotte Festival will run all weekend and include concerts, art, street vendors, political booths and a kids' area. Co-chair Dave Webb said it's grown into a huge event. "In 2010, we had about 8,000 to 10,000 attendees," Webb said. "Last year we had probably around 25,000 that attended the one-day event. This year, going over two days and expanding the hours, we're expecting 35,000 and up." Webb said the event draws people from outside the area, including from cities such as Atlanta and Washington, D.C. He said the gay and transgender community is especially energized right now - not only because of the upcoming Democratic National Convention but also because of Amendment One. That was the amendment to the North Carolina constitution that outlawed gay marriage a few months ago. "And we have more vendors that are coming in that their focus is either equality or even making a push to remove the amendment," Webb said. The festival will take place this weekend on South Tryon Street between 4th and Stonewall streets. That area will be closed to traffic from Saturday morning until Sunday night.