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WeHo's "lame" and "tired" Pride Fest to Get Makeover in 2013

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West Hollywood's annual gay pride festival may be world-famous, but some locals are calling the 42-year-old parade and event "lame" and "tired," reports WeHo Patch. For the 2013 festival, organizers and the City of West Hollywood are looking to do a major overhaul, which will hopefully please WeHo residents and put a little youthful kick of revitalization into the middle-aged gathering.

The notion of giving Pride a makeover first arose in mid-December during a West Hollywood City Council meeting, and the matter was taken up again Tuesday.

Rodney Scott, executive director of event organizer Christopher Street West (CSW), explained that there is a desire for the event to include "areas for gay youth and transgender people, plus a need for more dance space."

As Councilman John D’Amico pointed out, "many residents do not feel included anymore and that the parade was far too long, often lasting three hours." He also noted that Pride was no longer primarily a political event.

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Other concerns raised included Pride-goers' discomfort with the fencing around the event, as well as the price of admission.

Many West Hollywood businesses say that Pride is what accounts for a fourth or even third of their annual revenue.

The City has appointed itself "trustees" of the event, and hope that they can "raise the quality" of Pride, and still provide its attendees--particularly first-timers like the ones who spoke at Tuesday meeting about how powerful their inaugural attendance was--with a valuable and enjoyable experience.

It may ultimately come down to money, and Patch articulates how Tuesday's dialogue about the event concluded:

In the end, the council decided that CSW does an admirable job organizing the event, but needed help with fundraising. Mayor John Duran suggested the council could revive the West Hollywood Community Foundation to help spur community involvement and fundraising, but the council postponed acting on that idea.
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Though it's too late for the City to effectively aid in planning the 2012 Pride festival, since preparations for the June event are well underway, the City hopes to be able to be helpful for the 2013 and beyond.

“We cannot back down from our need to be leaders in the [gay] movement,” D’Amico said. “Where that will take us is only limited by how we end the conversation ourselves.”

An estimated 250,000 to 400,000 people attend the Pride parade annually.