From its humble beginnings atop the soaked summit in Himmel Park, Gay Pride in Arizona has gone through enough “wardrobe changes” to make Lady Gaga sweat! Fast forward to today and Tucson Gay Pride is one of the largest annual events to hit Southern Arizona, featuring a huge cast of entertainers, local celebrities, and all-around great people.
Back To The Future
On a robust weekend morning some 40 years ago, I find myself trying something brand new. Staring down the water-soaked grass of the largest hill in Himmel Park, I gathered with Tucson’s burgeoning LGBTQ community and constructed a Slip-n-Slide. It was no ordinary Slip-n-Slide, however, it was the biggest and wettest and probably the most dangerous construction ever attempted.
Careening down the hill at close to the speed of sound, you have no control and no hope of slowing yourself, let alone stopping. Waiting for you perilously at the bottom of the hill was a vat of thick, primordial mud. This mud promised to swallow any would-be adventurer whole and spit them out, covered in grime and exhilaration.
Terrifying stuff, huh? To this day, I can remember looking down at all this and thinking, “am I out of my mind”? So I hesitate. Old friends go flying out of view. Still I hesitate. Cute guy disappears into the pond of mud. Yet, I hesitate.
In retrospect, I don’t know what took me so long. Bathing suit? Check! All belongings safely stowed away? Check! What was I waiting for? So I closed my eyes and made a promise to myself; “jump on three”.
“One. Wow it’s cold out here! Maybe I should wait a bit for the sun to break through the clouds…”, I think.
“Two. That mud can’t be sanitary. Is that my car alarm? (note: this is before car alarms)”.
“Three” I throw myself off the peak without even thinking. Almost immediately, I start to pick up speed as the mud pit barrels towards me. I put my hands down as an emergency break but they only knock me off balance, so now I am sliding face-first into the abyss…
Sploosh! That’s all I remember. Lots of light, then a loud “sploosh”, then darkness and silence. Proudly, I raise my head, wipe the dirt from my eyes, and emerge from the pit victorious. Everyone is screaming and clapping and hollering their approval, and I find myself jumping and dancing to the joyous symphony.
It’s About Time
It was basically a party without the party. A time for friends and lovers to come together to enjoy eachothers company. But I was a hot-blooded 20-something, lets get this party started! Enter Fred and Dave, the former owners from IBT’s…
We could see them in the distance. A large, boxy truck with faded paint came ambling up the road. As the truck approaches, you can here the unmistakable cadence of dance music. Boom. Tink. Boom. Tink. My heart starts to beat to the rhythm. Boom. Ba-Boom. Boom. Ba-Boom.
The truck danced ever closer, until it’s full majesty came into view. It’s a tricked-out beer truck from IBT’s filled to the brim with kegs of mouth-watering bear and speakers of brow-watering dance music. All I could think was, “It’s About Time!”
Embrace Your History
From those halcyon days of yore, Tucson Gay Pride has become the annual behemoth that it is. Yearly, people from far-flung places convene in sleepy little Tucson to throw the best party of the year! Starting Friday night and proceeding all the way through Saturday, the hosts of Tucson Gay Pride have planned a mind-boggling number of special events and fun things to do for everyone! Not solely for the members of my amazing Tucson LGBTQ family, Tucson Gay Pride is a celebration of the differences and the diversity that make our community truly special. I can’t wait to see you at this year’s Tucson Gay Pride as we add another chapter to our illustrious history!
PS. Some of this story may be a little exaggerated, or not. Who can really remember? LOL