To conclude our Pride Week each year, we celebrate inclusiveness, diversity and community in a dazzling afternoon parade
This year marks the 29th year for the OKC Pride Parade and it falls on June 26th, the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision affirming Marriage Equality. We anticipate approximately 100 entries to celebrate the diversity of our community in their march down NW 39th Street from Classen to Youngs, so arrive early to find the best spot to watch. Expect a rainbow of color, showers of glitter and a great time for all Sunday, June 26 at 6pm.
If your business, non-profit, youth group, social organization or just a group of friends would like to enter the parade, you should register as soon as possible to secure premium placement. Floats, vehicle and walking groups will line up on the southbound lane of N. Classen between NW 46th and NW 39th beginning at 4pm on Sunday, June 26. All entries must be in place by 5 pm and each entry must have a designated parade captain as a point of contact for security.
2016 Grand Marshal
The OKC Pride Board of Directors has voted to honor Lee Burrus as the Grand Marshal of the 2016 OKC Pride Parade. Each year, the Board selects a Grand Marshal who has championed equality. Lee Burrus was selected due to his past and ongoing contributions to the LGBTQ community. Recent honorees include Mary Arbuckle, the plaintiffs of the Oklahoma marriage equality lawsuit and Bob Lemon. This year marks the 29th year for Oklahoma City’s Pride Parade, which has become the largest parade in the state each year.
Lee Burrus encountered a bit of culture shock in 1969 when he moved to Oklahoma City from San Francisco. After years in the bar and restaurant business, Mr. Burrus found an opportunity to lease the first floor of the Habana Inn in 1988. It housed a bar called Gushers Club but was mostly closed up. “A friend of mine was working the front desk and it wasn’t a gay hotel yet; they wouldn’t lease the club out, they wanted it to be straight,” said Burrus. “Well, somewhere shortly after that they decided to lease to a gay operator so they called me.” In social environment that was not welcoming to the LGBT community, The Habana Inn, and Gushers Nightclub became safe havens for gay patrons. He later built The Finishline; renovated Gushers Restaurant and The Copa Nightclub into what they are today.
His skill in building support with community leaders helped him avoid any serious roadblocks but he does recall some pressure after renovating the club and renaming it The Copa. “The Oklahoma City Police would send in their trainees and line them up along the rail above the dance floor.” In spite of the troubling times and these situations, Burrus managed The Copa, Finishline, Gushers Restaurant, and Jungle Red gift shop for twelve years without any serious problems or incidents. Lee Burrus may be best known today for his very successful restaurant, Ingrid’s Kitchen, as well as other bar and restaurant endeavors in and around Oklahoma City.
In addition to his business success, Lee Burrus is a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community through charitable endeavors and contributions. When asked about his contributions, Burrus said, “I’m proud to do whatever I can and happy to be in a position to be able to give back to a community that has shown so much support.” This year’s OKC Pride Parade will be held on Sunday, June 26 at 6pm on NW 39th Street from Classen to Youngs and will feature approximately one hundred entries. If you would like to enter a float, vehicle, band, or walking group in the OKC Pride Parade, please go to www.OKCPride.org.