Gay Pride rally location unclear

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SALISBURY — Gay Pride event organizers say Salisbury Pride will take place in downtown Salisbury after all, but on private property.
Salisbury Pride Inc. announced today in a press release the event will take place June 23 at 110 S. Lee St., a private parking lot owned by Wallace Properties I between Cooper’s and Bangkok Downtown.
But a short time later, owner Victor Wallace told the Post he has not signed an agreement with Pride and was not aware of the date of the event or other details.
Wallace, who owns the lot with several other family members, said he has not spoken to anyone from Salisbury Pride but does not oppose hosting the event on his property.
He said he needs to know about security and other logistical issues before an agreement can be reached.
“I’m the one they need to talk to,” Wallace said.
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins earlier this month denied a request by Pride for a permit to hold the event in the 100 block of East Fisher Street, where it was held last year.
Collins said he was concerned about safety and his department’s ability to keep protestors separated from event participants after learning he could not close the sidewalks this year.
Last year, the event drew roughly 2,000 people and 200 protestors, according to police estimates.
One event participant was ticketed for kissing a protestor. Police and volunteers interrupted several heated arguments between protestors and participants, but the event was generally incident-free.
This year’s festival will include arts and crafts displays, music and entertainment, food, games for children and more.
“We welcome everyone across this country to join us in Salisbury to celebrate gay pride in America and to help us focus attention and raise awareness of the need for our nation to fulfill its promise of equality for all,” Tamara Sheffield, event co-chairwoman, said in a statement.
Brandon Major is the event chairman.

Sheffield said she and Major had no further comment.
Read more in Thursday’s Post.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.