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Tiffany and drag queens at Pride '09

Columbia festival brought together S.C. GLBT community

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Charleston area residents, nonprofits, churches, and organizations (including the Charleston Social Club, pictured) took a ride to Columbia on Saturday for the 20th Annual South Carolina Pride Festival. Protesters were happily at a minimum, particularly when the GLBT crowd began showing up in mass.

A lengthy parade showed the gay community’s numbers and its support in the capital city. The drag queens suffered in the heat for equality as the floats, cars, and marching gays made their way down Main Street. GLBT resources abounded in the few dozen tents around Finlay Park, along with area companies supporting the community and at least one unsavory website that gave my husband a free T-shirt that likely won’t make it out of the closet in mixed company.

The festival line-up was mostly entertaining. A rendition of Rent’s “I’ll Cover You” was about the gayest thing aside from the “ladies” (look for the Broadway hit at the Trustus Theater in Columbia this December). Logo celebrity Ongina provided a good opening (but “I Kissed a Girl” lost its irony months ago). Eighties mall diva Tiffany was the main attraction, but Frenchie Davis stole the show. The songstress, formerly of American Idol, thanked the gays for keeping her working and wowed the crowd with her rendition of a few Dreamgirls ballads, including “I Am Changing,” which stopped the crowd in its tracks. The sun was out, but stuffy shirts have never been this crowd’s problem, and there was enough eye candy to ignore the few guys who really should have put their shirts back on.

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