Gay Rhea County Day should grow into an annual event that will be a boost to the Dayton economy, an organizer says.
Gary A. Giddings said, "Hopefully it will develop into a huge economic benefit to Dayton and the people of Rhea County will begin to look forward to having us every year."
Mr. Giddings said this year's inaugural event grew too large to be held at the famous Rhea County Courthouse, where the Scopes Monkey Trial was held.
The event was called after the Rhea County Commission voted, then quickly rescinded, a ban on homosexuals and lesbians in the county.
Mr. Giddings said, "Next year we will plan the parade and the gay day event on a weekend when nothing else is going on in Dayton. Next year it will be a two-day weekend event with a Saturday parade."
Mr. Giddings said the event "also grew too large to have a parade while graduation ceremonies are going on at Bryan College.
"We have over 2,500 people coming. Think about all the problems there would be with 2,500 people, 20+ porta-potties, 50+ vendors, stage and sound system all at the Courthouse with a parade and the Bryan College graduation. It was too much for such a small place.
"We want to have a fun, upbeat event. We do not want to cause so much trouble for the people of Dayton or Bryan College.
"By having it at the park the police will be able to keep the protesters outside the park and the Gay Day participants in the park where they can have a picnic and a little fun."
He said, "The organizers did not cave in to anything. We just made a decision in the best interest of the people of Dayton and the Gay Day participants."
He said there are still a few vendor spaces available for anyone who wants to come out and sell food, beverage or merchandise. All the vendor and sponsor details can be found at www.GayGala.com and general information at www.GayDayRheaCounty.com.