PrideFest to feature Bakker

Appearances by the son of former televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker as well as a parade through downtown Durham are among the highlights of this year's N.C. PrideFest weekend.

The annual festival celebrates the accomplishments and progress of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered.

Jay Bakker, 32, is taking on a theme his mother championed before she died last year of cancer – fighting to end religious and political discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“I'm going to talk about loving your neighbor as yourself, God's amazing grace and the dangers of apathy in our lives,” said Bakker, adding that he works to present a nonjudgmental, inclusive face to his Christian faith.

The festival opens at noon today on the East Campus of Duke University in Durham and runs through 5 p.m. with entertainment, a rally and a vendor fair.

The one-mile parade starts at 1 p.m. and follows Main Street and Campus Drive through Ninth and Broad streets. Organizers expect at least 2,000 marchers and 3,000 spectators.

Bakker is scheduled to speak at the afternoon rally. He also has two appearances Sunday in Raleigh: at 11 a.m. at Broughton High School, 723 St. Mary's St., and at 7 p.m. at St. John's Metropolitan Community Church, 805 Glenwood Ave.

Jim Neal, a Chapel Hill corporate investment adviser who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate this year, will give the rally's keynote address. The parade's grand marshal, Durham lawyer Sharon Thompson, also will speak at the rally.

Evening shows and parties are planned at private restaurants and clubs in Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill tonight, Saturday and Sunday.