This year’s Utah Pride Parade boasted 84 entries, tying it with last year’s as the biggest in the festival’s history.
“The entries were awesome this year,” said Parade Director Logan Brueck. “It’s getting bigger, better, the competition seems like it’s out there now with the trophies [given each year for entries in a number of categories]. People really put together a lot of effort. The scores are getting closer and closer.”
But while all of the floats, marching units and vehicles were creative and fun, in the end there could only be a few winners. Here are the judges’ results.
In the category of Best Corporate Float Wells Fargo placed first with the company’s iconic horse drawn stagecoach that won the gay and transgender-friendly bank a lot of attention along the parade route. QSaltLake took second place with a float featuring the giant gay superhero from its Pride edition cover and a number of marchers dressed up in superhero garb. Bud Light General Distribution came in third.
Equality Utah took the laurels for Best Organizational Float, followed by the Salt Lake City Men’s Choir’s tuneful entry with a winking Statue of liberty showcasing their upcoming concert and the Imperial Rainbow Court of Northern Utah’s float.
“Everybody was kind of amazed that PFLAG didn’t win,” said Brueck, referring to the popular entry featuring three wedding cakes displaying gay, straight and lesbian couples. “But unfortunately when PFLAG entered, they entered under the wrong category [marchers]. Otherwise, I think they would have taken it hands down.”
Brueck later clarified that the group’s miscategorization was not the reason why they didn’t take home an award. After consulting the judges’ score sheets, Brueck said that the marks for the Ogden group’s entry were substantially lower than those given to the third place entry in both float and marching unit categories.
“The units are all judged under the same standards,” he explained. “They’re not broken down by category. The whole [PFFLAG] unit was looked at, but the whole unit didn’t make the score. ”
“They didn’t rank as high as I thought they did,” he continued. “When they went by [based on the float’s design] I thought they’d be in first place.”
The category of Best Bar Float was hotly contended as always, with Club Edge taking top honors followed by Club Pure and Club Try-Angles.
“Club Edge’s float had a lot of energy,” said Brueck. “The people on their float were so diverse. When they drove by me as I was launching out the units, they were just totally into it.”
As in years past, the first place for marching unit went to the Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps of Salt Lake City (which also won the prize for best overall entry), the gay and transgender-friendly color guard that opens the parade. American Express took second place with the scantily-clad bathing beauties of the Queer Utah Aquatic Club coming in third. The Downtown Farmers Market took home the award for best vehicle for what Brueck called its “fun” farm fresh vehicle that featured a giant chicken. Out of the Shadows Theater Group, which boasts shadow casts for cult movies The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Repo! The Genetic Opera came in second, followed by the Utah Cyber Sluts, a camp drag group who also used a horse drawn carriage.
“This year there was one entry that was very unusual,” said Brueck. “We had a person on Facebook [Matthew Flinders] who wanted to enter a group of straights in the parade who agreed with equality for everyone. He basically had 150 to 200 people marching with him in the parade. The name was The Straight Coalition. It was just phenomenal and the crowd response was just overwhelming.”
The three judges also appeared to have been overwhelmed. In the end, the Straight Coalition took home the award for best new entry, which was offered for the first time this year.
Judges graded each entry on a scale of one to 10 points in five categories: best use of Pride colors, energy, showmanship, crowd response and skill at “pumping up” the crowd’s excitement. A maximum score of 150 points was possible.
“It’s all just done on the judge’s taste,” said Brueck, noting that “our judges are the most impartial people we can find with no ties to a business or club or anyone in the parade.”
Overall, Brueck said the parade drew far more attendees than in years past, yet went over “without a hitch.”
“All the entries did a good job lining up, the parade stepped of at 10 a.m. sharp and ended a little before our scheduled time,” he said. “I just keep getting a lot of people responding to the fact that they’re happy with the way the parade is going because it keeps getting bigger and better each time it runs.”
“It seems more people put more time on what they’re doing and entering There’s a little more pride in the Pride,” he added.