Roe v. Wade Was Just Overturned. Now What?

It is an all-hands-on-deck moment in Michigan and our nation. Today’s opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade should be a siren blaring in the night, waking people up from every corner of the country and motivating them to take action — [...]

Some Pride Attendees Say They Waited Hours to Get into Motor City Pride. Others Never Made It Inside. What Happened?

Organizers point to record attendance, working on plan to improve 2023 entrance experience

By |2022-06-13T14:46:24-04:00June 13th, 2022|Michigan, News|

Long lines to get into Motor City Pride (MCP) in Hart Plaza in Detroit on Saturday and Sunday marred the experience for many Pridegoers. In fact, organizers, fearing they were reaching capacity in the plaza, had to shut down the single entrance gate early. 

Kevin Pike drove from Macomb County and had trouble getting in on the first day. “We tried for Saturday but got there around 4 or 4:30,” he wrote in a Facebook comment on the official MCP page. “The line was INSANE. By 6:45 we were by the Hart Plaza sign and gave up [because the doors were closing at 7].”

Pike and friends got in Sunday, though, and despite the long wait to get in he said he’d definitely go back. “This was my first Pride event and it was great,” he posted. “We will definitely be back next year, too.”

On Sunday, there were problems as the parade, bigger this year than ever according to organizers, started to end. Organizers estimated more than 40,000 people attended this year’s MCP. The sheer volume of attendees apparently overwhelmed volunteers as some reported waiting hours to get in. Others chose not to wait at all, leaving without ever making it inside the gates. 

Carl Chamberlain of Clarkson posted on MCP’s Facebook page that it took him and his boyfriend over two hours to get in Sunday. “The crowd wasn’t as friendly as we would expect at a Pride festival, and we had a couple of negative encounters and no memorable good ones,” Chamberlain’s post read in part. He still admitted to having fun once he made it in, but said his future attendance at MCP is questionable. “All things considered, I really don’t know if my boyfriend and I will be returning next year,” he said. “One suggestion: If the wait is 2+ hours again next year, have someone handing out free bottled water. Better yet, find a way to speed up the entry process.”

A tweet from the official MCP Twitter page on Saturday evening appeared to show some remorse from organizers. “We apologize for the long lines as the turnout exceeded the allowed capacity forcing us to close lines early,” the post read. “We look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.”

Zack Fredericks. who lives in downtown Detroit, only had to walk mere minutes to get to Hart Plaza. Then he saw the lines. According to Fredericks’ comments on FB, the lines were “unacceptable.” 

On MCP’s Facebook page, Pridegoers suggested selling advance tickets next year and moving Pride to a larger location in the city among others to speed up the entrance procress.

But it wasn’t only entry to MCP that was a problem. According to some attendees, they also had trouble getting out, citing, again, long lines and narrow exits. 

“Add people with strollers and barricades not open wide enough, and you have a bottleneck and a longer line of people wanting to leave,” said RoRo Mcerocks on Facebook. “That could potentially be a safety hazard if there was a need to exit quickly. Please, Detroit. Do Better.”

Dave Wait, head of MCP, said the problem was the sheer number of attendees who came out to attend Pride and ruled out any security threats or other issues. 

“It was a sad thing,” he said. “We never dreamed we’d do double of what we were in September [2021].”

Wait said that when they had to close the gates early on Saturday, he walked the line and offered tickets to anyone planning to come back Sunday so they would not have to pay to get in. Wait also said he had trouble believing that anyone waited for two hours to get in.

“I don’t think anybody waited that long,” he said. “We were asking people all the time how long they were in line and the longest people told us was about 50 minutes.”

Wait said that MCP was considering all options for next year.

“I don’t believe we’ve outgrown Hart Plaza yet,” he said. “But we’re going to look at options.”

Wait said they are talking to the police about opening a second gate but that could possibly cause line confusion. “The challenge with a second gate is that you have two lines that are merging,” he said. “The one thing we’re pretty sure about next year is we’re going to have advance ticket sales.”

In the end, Wait said he has mixed emotions. He just produced the biggest MCP on record, but not everyone was able to get in and be a part of it.

“We were grateful for the folks who came out to support the festival, and we were sorry the lines were so long,” he said. 


About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.