Easter in the Park's "Kid Friendly" Changes Seen As Slight to Gay Community, Some Planning to Resurrect Old Easter Sunday Event

Categories: Events, News
Thumbnail image for EasterinthePark_strollerdog.jpeg
Caity Colvard
Turtle Creek Association's canceled this year's pooch parade, but the Oak Lawn community's refusing to roll over.
Over the years he lived in the Oak Lawn area, Mike Walker recalls the Turtle Creek Association's annual Easter in the Park as an outdoor occasion for everybody and their dogs, a big event around both the Turtle Creek neighborhood and in the gay and lesbian community.

"The fact that it was so inclusive was one of the best things about it," Walker says. "Its not a gay pride event. Easter is for everyone."

So when he heard TCA's decision to move the 25-year-old event a week earlier this year, to April 17, and to do it without either the Dallas Symphony Orchestra performance or the pooch parade, he was concerned. He says when he called TCA to ask what gives, and was told "they wanted to make it more kid-friendly," he was more concerned.

Calling it "a slap in the face to the community who has supported this park for decades," Walker fired off a mass e-mail, asking folks to give TCA an earful about the changes. He created a Facebook page for a new Easter Sunday event to carry on the tradition with a pooch parade and symphony performance at Robert E. Lee Park.

The response has been big -- 400 people have signed up for the unofficial April 25 event, but it's a shame, he says, if this is a split in a tradition that's been uniting these neighborhoods for years.

But Cathy Golden, president and CEO of the Turtle Creek Association, says they have no interest in shutting anyone out. "Our entire goal as the Turtle Creek Association," she says, "is to try and get as many people into the park as possible." That's why TCA's going to be promoting both Easter events. Golden says she's been hearing for years from people who wanted to come to Easter in the Park, but were busy with family, and businesses that wanted to participate but were closed for the holiday. "Our purpose is to bring event more people into the event, not to exclude anyone," she says. Now they'll have an Easter egg roll and an appearance by the Easter bunny at their Easter in the Park on the 17th.

As for the pooch parade, she says, they still have a costume contest with judges -- same as before, just without the parade. "It just took a very very long time," she says, for everyone to parade past the judges. (Though the new date's also a conflict with the Dog Bowl at Fair Park.)

With the symphony still slated to perform Easter Sunday afternoon, she says, it's the start of what she hopes can grow into a whole week of events leading up to Easter. "We certainly want everyone to help in that goal of bringing more attention to the park, where everybody feels comfortable."

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53 comments
John
John

They are doing away with a bunch of stuff this year:

They put a big stuffy fence around it..

They wanna make sure that the money stays within the guild so they can pass it around..

No alcohol so you are forced to buy from them..

$5 Cover charge - but that has now been waived due to too many complaints..

They don't want shirtless drunk guys hanging around their children is the answer that I got from Dallas Tavern Guild..

No headliners..

They want to attract more of the straight community since Easter is more of a straight event and the straights want to use that space..

Do some digging - you will find who's in charge here..

We're not supporting this..

E. Bunny
E. Bunny

Thank Goodness Easter in the Park is on! Thanks to the City and the Cedar Springs merchant association! I have started a facebook page titled I'll support the TCA when Cathy Golden Steps Down. My hope is that if it gets enough attention it will further show them that the people of this community gay and straight are tired of the TCA's exclusionary tatics

Hadley
Hadley

TCA is insulting the residents of it's own community. Idiots!!

Hadley
Hadley

This is ridiculous! Easter in the Park and The Pooch Parade has been a tradition for years. If it ain't broke don't try to fix it! Kids have always been welcome to this event. It's got a Pooch Parade for crying out loud. My attendance in previous years has always been a positive experience. It's accepted that this event has gay attendees and participants. All I have to say is don't break the tradition!! I think the TCA needs to find something more important to do! How many kids want to hear the symphony anyway? Please............They will lose a ton of visitors to this event if they change things. Really stupid move on TCA's part.

Eric
Eric

It seems as if now the TCA is trying to cover their ass and make it seem like they always had two events planned when we know that this is not the truth. Also when the Dallas Voice FINALLY got around to reporting on this issue seems to be focusing more on the pooch parade aspect than anything else. Thanks Urban Park for being a real journalist.

Masone214
Masone214

Dear TCA, Who decided to make " YOU" guys the official Easter in the Park Committee? NO ONE!!! You have taken it upon yourselves to stir up things in the Gay Community. Well you GOT IT. You have now made " US " the GAY COMMUNITY just as determined to make sure OUR presents is known when you have YOUR EVENT. And trust me it won't be pretty. For many, many years both the gay community and the straight community have come together to celebrate Easter in the Park. There have been no fights, yellings, hate of any kind since this began. NOW you want to make sure the GAYS are excluded from YOUR event. IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!!! The TCA is nothing but a bunch of stiff-shirt uppity yuppies who think they can come into OUR community and change things..WELL THINK AGIAN. Through out this country over the past 40 years, anyone who tries to outcast the Gay Community or speak out against it or do anything remotely anti-gay has suffered the consequences. This is OUR Neighborhood, YOU just happen to be a part of it. So either get with the program and accept that WE the gay community have power here, or kindly remove Yourselves and YOUR organization and take your Anti-Gay Family Friendly selves elsewhere. There is NO room for your ignorance, arrogance and HATE in or around OUR GAY COMMUNITY. This is OUR EVENT and it has been this way for many years. The difference is WE do NOT label who is or is not family friendly...WE ARE ALL FAMILY FRIENDLY..and how is this...It's because WE choose OUR families from love and acceptence. Not from who does and does NOT have children. Chrildren have been coming to OUR events for years. And we treat them with love and kindness as we would anyone else who attends OUR events. Our Gay Pride Event is a Family Friendly Event...we do NOT have to advertise it as such...IT JUST IS. The TCA is discrimination at it's finest. You have NOT heard the last of it from THE DALLAS GAY COMMUNITY. You will either become a part of the community or you will remove yourselves from it, WE do not have time for these ANTI- GAY CHILDISH GAMES, from so called adults. Children are innocent and filled with NO agenda. They just want to have fun and be happy. It's ADULTS like you who start filling their heads with what you deem is or is not family friendly. It starts with people like you. There is NO ROOM for BIGOTS in OUR COMMUNITY. Enough is Enough!!!

Anon
Anon

Funny, I thought Easter was for Christians

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

As a 20-year resident (and homeowner) and community activist in Oak Lawn, it has become glaringly apparent to me of the split between the "haves" of the Turtle Creek Association, all of whom live in the million-dollar-plus highrise homes (and behind gates along the creek) and their insistence on being above and beyond what is happening on the ground with the entire community. And the takeover of Lee Park by the Conservancy and fans of the General has exacerbated the problem. For example, the Reverchon Roundup took place last Saturday. For some strange reason, TTA never participates. They throw their own private little cleanups and don't care for outside help. I helped in the past with one of their cleanups and felt very unwelcome. Just another way to keep the alternative lifestyle folks at bay.

Throw that in with the Parks Departments' ever-shrinking budget and need for private funds to maintain the green spaces, and you get exactly what is happening now. There is absolutely no rational reason to change the events. I'm betting the Lee Park Conservancy people are silent partners in this change. I'm sure they don't mind.

Too bad. The ethnic/gender/age/marital status/gender preference mish-mash that is Oak Lawn made it what it is, keeps it vibrant and successful and a great place to live. And I don't want it any other way. So, to all of you TTA and Lee Park Conservancy people who want us to be Highland Park/Plano/Frisco, rest assured I won't go along. And I know I'm not alone.

fred
fred

Are you sure this is not Cathie Adams of the Eagle Forum who has been obsessing about gays for decades?

I shall start calling TCA, "Turtle CRAP Association" - no dollars from me to fund your evil deeds. Plant your own azaleas.

RS1963
RS1963

C'mon Cathy, have the guts to just clearly say it: you don't like the gays at the event. Hiding behind "kid-friendly" is ridiculous. As others have stated, you can make an event more kid-friendly by having more kid-related activities: face painting, bounce houses, Easter Bunny, etc.

I wouldn't be surprised to see something like that out in backwoods East Texas, but right here in Dallas - in the middle of Oak Lawn - is disturbing and depressing. Since the event has attracted thousands of individuals and families for years, it's obvious that it is successful, so organizers can't say "Participating has been declining so we are forced to make changes, including..."

Basically, there is a vocal minority of bigots (sorry, I don't think there is any other word to use here) who feel uncomfortable with a few to many gay people around them, while there are thousands who obviously think it's just fine. The TCA should be embarrassed by this.

Chula
Chula

As an LGBT supporter, I feel slapped in the face as well. 'Kid friendly', my ---.

Denny
Denny

Shouldn't it now be called Palm Sunday in the Park? Very confusing. I'm predicting major fail.

Vaun Norwood
Vaun Norwood

Turtle Creek Association wants to kill Easter in the Park, this is the first move. Turtle Creek Association wants weddings in Arlington Hall not homos on Easter Sunday

Joshua
Joshua

I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT THE DOGS WERE THE NATURAL OFFSPRING OF GAY OR LESBIAN RELATIONSHIPS....DOGGIESTYLE BEING MORE COMMON THAN NOT.

MC
MC

First, let's start standing up for Oak Lawn as a gay-haven in a bubble of red-state craziness!!! Keep your "Uptown" paws off our funky,little gayborhood. Maybe, we should even start a movement to have Lee Park go back to it's orginal "Oak Lawn Park", before the Klan dominated city hall renamed it in the 1920's. Being Gay IS kid-friendly!!!!!

C St John
C St John

This in my opinion, having lived in Dallas for well over 20 years now, has always been the ONLY day of the year when this town really comes together from all aspects of community. The LGBT community has never wanted to monopolize the Easter in the Park festivities and the hetero community seemed to always feel comfortable and enjoy our slant on the days festivities as well. Now the TCA has taken the day away from the city community as a whole and wants to make it "family-friendly"/"kid-friendly"? The way to have done that and not disrupted the day as a whole would have been to utilize more of the park area and put in bounce houses and kid games and an Easter egg hunt with the Easter bunny, not take the entire day for themselves to make it something that appears excluding to some.

Dallas has always had a bad habit of being a city of the "haves" and "have-nots" starting in City Hall and trickling all the way down to West Dallas. Now a group of citizens that are supposed to be promoting, conserving, and protecting a precious commodity like Lee Park and the Turtle Creek area want to change/fix something that was never broken to begin with.I say we don't let them. The LGBT community should attend the April 17th event, as well as the Easter Sunday event. The Easter Sunday event has always been open to ALL and will remain so. The LGBT community has banded together in many ways over the years to take care of its own and will continue to do so. But the "haves" in Dallas need to understand that there is something they cannot take away from us, and that is our integrity and self preserving spirit of community. And if they don't have that in their community, they've always been welcome to come be a part of ours. We have never been the group to want to exclude, it has been them. Like it or not, the LGBT people of this world will never go away or back into closets. So if you don't have what it takes to be able to answer your children's questions about life, then maybe you weren't ready to be a parent. But we in all my years of going to Easter in the Park, I have never seen, or heard of a child being put in a bad environment there. It has always been "kid friendly" and always will be. Because like it or not we the LGBT community are parents ourselves.

Epistaxis75
Epistaxis75

So gay-friendly is mutually exclusive of family friendly? What about gay families? My then-partner, now-husband, took our 4 and 7 year old kids to Easter in the Park for the first time last year. Since it was the first time I had been, and I had heard several friends talk about getting really drunk in the middle of the day (a la St Patrick's day) I was a little nervous to take the kids. It turned out my fears were unfounded. There was nothing kid-unfriendly about it. The only thing that would have been better for the kids would have been more kids. I would ask my fellow LGBT readers on here why they think it's such a bad thing to make it more kid friendly. Why do you want to keep heteros with kids out? And as a dad, I kind of see the point of doing away with the parade but keeping the costumes, simply from an attention span point of view. That said, I'm not sure how changing the date away from Easter makes it more family friendly.

Stan
Stan

I am shocked that the TCA would try and change something that has been so successful over the years. I have always enjoyed Easter at Lee Park. As for the 17th of April, I will be at Oak Cliff Earth Day at Lake Cliff Park from 12 to 5 p.m. Lake Cliff is an even nicer park with out all those ugly high rise buildings to block the view of downtown Dallas.

Sara Hunt Harper
Sara Hunt Harper

Goodness, mercy me. What could be more kid friendly that the Pooch Parade, the Dallas Symphony, a picnic lunch with your family and dogs at Lee Park on Easter Sunday after church? Throw in a soccer ball, a baseball, bubbles and Easter eggs and the day is complete. My children saw the first Pooch Parade way back when and now come with their children, in laws, and friends to join us at the park. We come from Plano, North Dallas, Richardson, Oak Cliff, North Richland Hills and Trophy Club for this annual celebration with an occasional stray from McKinney. What a loss for our whole community.

KROKUS
KROKUS

But Cathy Golden, president and CEO of the Turtle Creek Association, spewed forth class warfare euphemisms. Fuck that. Eat the rich!

Eat the rich!Don't you know, life is a bitch!

Bob
Bob

Oh, and as for their promoting BOTH Easter events, according to the Turtle Creek Association's website, the only "Easter" event shown is their early, "family friendly" event, you know, the one without the homosexuals.

At the REAL Easter in the Park, on Easter Sunday, we should take up a collection and send Ms. Golden and the rest of her "family friendly" crew up to Frisco, where (I am sure) they will be more welcome.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Dear GLTG folks Thanks for holding down the Fort and keeping our place in line for the last 30 to 40 years as Parents and grand parents participated in the White flight To the BURBS.We sure like how you have Vitalized the area ....

But to tell the truth WE don't really see our selves fitting into the lifestyle you have created for your selvesSo rather than involve our selves in yours.We are having a Sunday in the park of our own .....And its not that you aren't invited its that "WE" you might feel more comfortable if you took our Sunday fun day off and instead looked forward to next week end and your own..

You'll understand if we see Now see our Easter programs as being Separate but Equal .

We would like to add that next year we are going to help you have more space in the Park next year as we go ahead an have the Symphony be at our event.....

Thanks the TLC.

OakLawn Tisha
OakLawn Tisha

I still don't get this kid friendly crap...what was unkid friendly about the last 25 years? I agree that there could be more activities for the kiddos but something still smells fishy. Maybe I'm just paranoid b/c it seems every time the LGBT community builds the foundation for something fabulous, the yuppies come in and hijack it.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

"family friendly" is code for "anti-gay".and, I definitely want the pooch parade back. It's something i've been attending for 16yrs. I have friends who drive in to attend this. Without the pooch parade, the event will dwindle.and, I'm not even gay. so there!

Montemalone
Montemalone

As with everything else, including making Oak Lawn cool (although now it totally sucks from breeders in SUVs), once the gays move in and make something good, the hets take it over and destroy it.

brufanegra
brufanegra

John, this information is SO right but for the wrong event. These are changes made for this year's Dallas Pride festival in Lee Park in September. Easter in the Park is the same as every year. Pooch Parade, bonnets, the symphony, and probably even rain. No charge. Picnics yes, glass bottles no. No fence. Here are the links for coverage about both events and you will see that you got the events confused.

http://www.dallasvoice.com/pla...

http://www.dallasvoice.com/dal...

scottindallas
scottindallas

Palm Sunday is the day for a parade when you think about it.

cp
cp

Do you even realize that you're a troll?

Joshua
Joshua

AND what about them discontinuing the colorful big Condom hunt and KY tube roll on the grass.....it is JUST horrible!! I am SO STEAMED UP.

Old Marshmallow
Old Marshmallow

You make a really big jump from what the article is reporting when you ask the question "Why do you want to keep heteros with kids out?" In my opinion your question is both misleading and disingenuous.

So far as I know there is no effort in the LGBT community to keep kids and heteros away from the traditional Easter in the Park festivities, and to the best of my knowledge they have always been welcome. Quite the opposite is happening. TCA wants to keep the LGBT community separate from the "kid-friendly" hetero crowd they are courting. They're using quite slippery tactics to do so.

The point you are missing is that TCA has opted to eliminate a longstanding and already family and kid friendly event including the pooch parade and DSO and replace it with one that seeks to either avoid or exclude those who have made it a tradition. In other words, changing the date, removing the pooch parade and eliminating the DSO are all designed to discourage the "old crowd" (especially the LGBT community) from attending or possibly confuse them into showing up on the wrong date. That way CA can have their idea of what the event, in their carpetbagging opinion "should be" (exclusively straight?, infantilized? dog-free? music-free?) versus what it has been for years.

OakLawn Tisha
OakLawn Tisha

It seems that alot of people have things planned the 17th. Maybe that is why the event has been on Easter Sunday for the past 25 years b/c the only thing most people have planned on that day is Easter (or sleep).

scottindallas
scottindallas

How about bounce houses, a big plastic sheet running down the hill with water to serve as a giant slip and slide and the Easter egg hunt are good ideas. Also pinatas are cool AND multicultural.

Hadley
Hadley

Ha! Great comment!

Joshua
Joshua

But....who gets to be JESUS in the Parade? I don't think that a gay man WOULD dare to do THAT....maybe a Lesbian with a beard or something would work...but, gosh, the CHRISTIANS are expecting a JESUS in an EASTER deal....It isn't about bunnies and chickens you know!!!!!

Ohhhhh. This is JUST SO HARD and CONFUSING TO MEEEE.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Is there a secret handshake or something that allows editing around here ?

OakLawn Tisha
OakLawn Tisha

@Snookie....come to the event on Easter Sunday...I believe they are still planning a pooch parade...it may not be as organized as the TCA event but it's all about community and enjoying a great day in the park.

Joshua
Joshua

Yeah...then come the blacks, then the Hispanics, then the skinheads...but when the politicians get there....well, it just make me SO steamed up!!!! haters and destroyers...that IS just what they are....ooooooh.

RS1963
RS1963

Well yes, the little tykes may end up looking more like Lady Gaga and less like a bunny...

Montemalone
Montemalone

A naked troll with a poster of Rush Limbaugh over his computer and a beer bottle up his poopchute.

Jethro
Jethro

We don't want fleas from YOUR dogs on OUR hetro babies....

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

This is another case of free thinkers (don't know of another way to put it) being Shocked into inaction by the Sheer audacity of the closed minded folks . We know this is not just one person this is a group .

http://www.turtlecreekassociat...

And as we all know the entire group must Approve the idea of a _ _ _ Free fun day..( Maybe not but they sure aren't doing anything to prevent those who do from doing it ...)

One Board approved move has Marginalized an entire area group of people and way of life.

An the reaction is on the internet and is a Face book page ?

At least Fred Phleps comes at a community in a head on fashion .

That area has supported some of these business's for years .

Heck of a way to thank you isn't it .

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

My reading of the article indicates there will be no pooch parade, just a pooch judging area. Here is the sentence in the article that I gleened it from:

As for the pooch parade, she says, they still have a costume contest with judges -- same as before, just without the parade. "It just took a very very long time," she says, for everyone to parade past the judges.

Joshua
Joshua

CAREFUL...you will get all the boys on this forum all hot and bothered talking about Rush and Obama naked at the bathhouse with beer bottles and light bulbs up the ole coalchuter...they might march on city hall with signs and horns and cheesecakes.

Burtyuiop
Burtyuiop

Dude. If you actually know whether or not your baby is hetero or gay...someone needs to call child protective services on you.

mark
mark

My understanding is that there will also be a doggie contest during the "family friendly" event. It will be hosted by local DJ, Jody Dean, a "born-again Christian". This is the same Jody Dean who has promoted Exodus International on his radio show. I heard it myself and my jaw dropped; while riding a DFW shuttle to my terminal in November of 2009.

scottindallas
scottindallas

You get that many painted up queens with their babies all dolled up, THERE'S GONNA BE A PARADE SUGAR!

OakLawn Tisha
OakLawn Tisha

I'm talking about the "unofficial" event that is now being organized on facebook. It is also being called the Bunny Revolt. You are correct. The TCA event is not having a pooch parade but the Bunny Revolt organizers plan to continue the tradition on Easter Sunday and keep the parade.

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