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Pride Fest 2011 This Weekend

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On top of the parade, concerts and other events that will take place at the state’s largest LGBT event this weekend, Pride Fest 2011 will offer an additional perk:

It will be slightly less smoky than the rest of the city, since event organizers prohibited smoking or other tobacco use during the festivities organized by the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community.

Rebecca Dakota, coordinator of health advocacy organization Fierce Pride, said gays and lesbians are twice as likely to smoke as the straight population, which she attributes to a variety of factors.

“Tobacco companies really target the LGBT population,” she said. “LGBT people have more health problems than the mainstream population, and that’s partly related to tobacco use.”

In addition to being smoke-free, Albuquerque Pride is celebrating the festival’s 35th anniversary this weekend. James Reese, Pride Fest program coordinator, said more events this year will be open to all ages, including a foam dance party on Saturday. Reese also said this year’s festival will be host to the finals of the OUTSpoken poetry slams.

“We just wanted to include another side of the GLBT community,” he said.

Pride Fest starts with a candlelight vigil tonight at 7 p.m. at Morningside Park. On Friday, Albuquerque Pride will give awards to accomplished area businesses and individuals in the LGBT community.

The Pride Parade starts on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Central Avenue and Girard Boulevard, and the Pride Pageant takes place later Saturday evening.

— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal

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