This year I had a strong desire to attend a unique and rare style of pride event, especially in light of the landscape-altering decision by the United States Supreme Court, forever altering America's social contracts.
The State of Virginia holds the nation's only Gay Pride Boat Parade, that's right: no floats, just boats! Hampton Roads Pride, in Norfolk, Virginia, is the State's largest pride celebration, throwing a unique twist on the gay festivities.
Norfolk is synonymous with boats. It's the home of largest naval base in the world, Naval Station Norfolk, and the final resting position of the Wisconsin (pictured here). The Wisconsin, a WWII and Korean Conflict battleship punctuates the Norfolk skyline and helps to educate future generations as a fully functional museum ship.
'The Swans' marked the beginning of the 2015 Pridefest Boat Parade. As they set sail into the Elizabeth River, like beacons of pride and beauty, they summoned all to the Norfolk waterfront, preparing us for celebration and revelry.
The floating festivities are open to everyone. If you own a boat you're more than welcome to get a permit, color her up, and ride in the parade. If you aren't lucky enough to have your own boat, join someone else's! If you're plagued by the devil that is sea-sickness, get yourself an inflatable swan and watch the parade from the safety of a mimosa on the waterfront!
But seriously, the American Rover makes a strong and powerful entrance, and best of all, it was open to the public. Tickets were sold to sit aboard this grand vessel as it unfurled those gorgeous sails, and presented a dignified wrut (the water equivalent of a strut) along the parade woute (the water equivalent of a route).
Oyster sidebar! Norfolk has the best oysters I've had in years -- NOTE: It's nearly impossible to photograph oysters and make them look appealing, so just take my word for it with these appetizing aphrodisiacs.
The annual Pridefest Block Party had a seamless run even after a last minute venue change prompted by Mother Nature's insistence on hydrating the land. That's coordination at its finest, moving the party at the last minute, and still having everyone show up. Well done!
What I was most proud of at Hampton Roads Pridefest was the next generation of Americans. These are folks who're going to grow up in the environment we leave to them, and they're in many ways better prognosticators than we were. #TruePride
Photographs taken from June 26-28 during Hampton Roads Pridefest in Norfolk, Virginia.
Food served by Todd Jurich's Bistro in Norfolk, Virginia.