Gays Join Alaska's July 4th Parades

Three of Alaska's 4th of July Parades - Anchorage, Ester and Homer - will have openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender contingents celebrating Independence Day this Saturday, and all LGBTA Alaskans are invited to join the fun.

The Anchorage July 4th Parade will include the Imperial Court float 'The Starship Something Fierce' hosted by the Duke & Duchess of Anchorage, and the LGBT Youth float from PrideFest. The youth float theme is 'Let Our Colors Bloom, Youth for Equality' and youth 14-19 are invited to join. Adults are welcome to join the Court float, or the ACLU marchers.

"If you would like to join the Court float, please meet us at 7th & H St. between 9 and 10 a.m.," writes Paige Langit, Anchorage Duchess. The youth float will meet at 7th & I St. This year's parade route circles the Delaney Park Strip in downtown Anchorage.

The ACLU of Alaska also invites the LGBTA community to join their walking contingent. They meet at 8th & I St. at 10:30 a.m.

After the parade, Bernie's Bungalow is hosting a marathon 4th Fest with live music, burlesque & circus performances from 4 p.m.-midnight, followed by a DJ dance party. The $10 cover gets you an all-event wristband from a VivaVoom Brr-Lesque hostess.

In the Fairbanks area, Dykes on Bikes (a.k.a. the Thursday Women's Motorcycle Group, and friends) are riding in the Ester Fourth of July Parade. They will meet at 11 a.m. for the parade, and stay for the community picnic/potluck afterwards.

"Inspired by our recent motorcycle runs, and the general funky, festive atmosphere of Ester in a high holiday mood, I've gotten us a spot in the Ester July 4th parade," writes Jeanne. "Women looking for a good time in a 'family' friendly atmosphere should join us. Any size bike or scooter will do."

The Ester event is not a typical Independence Day Parade. "Anything goes," writes Deirdre Helfferich on The Ester Republic blog. "We've had Revolutionary War soldiers, a Visqueen statue of liberty, leather-and-whip wielding fishnetted literati, giant puppets, men in drag and mops, dogs in costume, pigs in porkmobiles, fake politicians with real bribes, real politicians with fake bribes, dance troupes, couch potatoes, marching bands, gaggles of kids, horses, extremely loud firetrucks, etc." Compared to that, Dykes on Bikes will seem tame.

Bribing the judges is a tradition at the Ester Parade. It's not required, but it's part of the fun. The Dykes on Bikes contingent is planning a bribe, a sign, and decorations for the motorcycles.

The Thursday Women's Motorcycle Group meets at the Regal/Goldstream Theater parking lot every week at 6 p.m. and features a 45-60 minute ride to dinner and back. "If you want to hitch a ride, meet us Thursday evening and we'll see what we can do," writes Jeanne. Remember that helmets are mandatory for passengers in Alaska.

The new Homer PFLAG chapter made a colorful float for the Homer July 4th parade down Pioneer Ave. to Sterling Highway.

"Come show your support for LGBTQ in Homer," reads the event's Facebook message. "We are gathering at 5 p.m. in the Homer High Parking Lot to put the dazzel on and work out the ditty to do before the judges. Wear bright colors. Let's show there is a safe place to celebrate diversity in Homertown."

Happy Independence Day!

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