First, let me give a BIG shout out to The Anti-Racist Action group for blocking the fundamentalist protesters this year. There has been violence at previous years' events and this helped stop that. The group, holding placards that said things like "Fundamentalism = Fascism" (that were bigger than the signs held by the fundies) effectively blocked the signs that that homophobes held. They surrounded them and would not let them get separated. Whenever a protester tried to get away, a group of the counter protesters followed them and blocked any ill-will towards the paraders and watchers.
We were standing in front of the judges table and saw some wonderful performances by the float groups, including the Joker's Brigade Mummers group (who, while they aren't necessarily gay they certainly wear plenty of sequins and finery to make a drag queen envious...and the Mummers joining our parade pretty much shows the whole city's support as far as I'm concerned.).
Amongst the groups that performed in the parade were The Flaggots. Most inspiring was a performance by the congregation from the Metropolitan Community Church of Philadelphia who renewed our faith that not all people who believe in God, read the bible and pray actually think like those protesters.
Other floats included The Bike Stop (I saw littlecrazycub and his new boyfriend neishaverse on the float but never actually saw them in the crowd...though I kept my eyes peeled), the gang from Bounce (including Geno), the GALAEI Project (my friend, Luis, was on that float), and many other worthy businesses and organizations.
I scored a couple of keychains, various mardi-gras styled beads, a bunch of lollipops (blow pops and dum-dums) and a few other goodies (but no t-shirt this year).
(And props to both Blockbuster Video and Starbuck's Coffee for each having contingents in the parade...and to Ben and Jerry's for having a truck at the Festival site...not to mention so many other of the sponsors of today's events).
Amongst the crowd there, we bumped into various and sundry other friends from Cumberland County (Brian and John, Kathe, Lisa and Lisa, etc.). I also bumped into an old friend from college (Darren).
While walking around, we found a table hosted by some of the guys from Bounce for Twisted Life.com (the sponsors of Six Flags Gay Days) and already got our tickets (how could we not since Derek (spacuna) and Romaine (romaine are going to be there this year! (and by picking them up today we got a sweet discount!).
At about 3pm, Paul turned to me and asked what I wanted to do for food. Neither of us was impressed by the choices from the grease trucks at the site so we walked back towards City Hall and went back to the Smoked Joint. I again had the pulled pork pickle pizza and Paul ordered the pulled pork platter. We shared an order of the mac and cheese. I love that they serve their soft drinks in little pitchers. We then headed to the car and quickly drove home.
When I got undressed I discovered that while my face seemed okay (SPF 70 to the rescue...not to mention my baseball cap), I got a little burnt on the back of my neck...Paul got a little crispy though on his arms and legs.
I'm now sitting at the computer, downloading some audiobooks from Audible.com. I've grabbed "the Memory of Running" by Ron McLarty (I read a review a while back...by Stephen King, and have wanted to give this one a listen...of course, I grabbed it unabridged). I just joined, so I also got another free book (since they were having a 50% off sale). I wishlisted a few classics for later months and grabbed a trio of science fiction novels bundled together: the Callahan Chronicles by Spider Robinson (Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, Time Traveler's Strictly Cash and Callahan's Secret)...I've seen these books for years and thought what the hell...it looked like a bargain to get three at once.
I'm about to sync up the iPod and just "chillax" for a while...Paul has the new episode of Dr. Who burning, so we'll watch that tonight along with QaF and I might just save Six Feet Under for tomorrow night when I get home...