Pride in Philadelphia and beyond is a celebration for all. Here’s what’s happening across Pa.
By Michele Zipkin
PHILADELPHIA — From festivals to dance parties to art exhibits that uplift LGBTQ communities, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate Pride in the Philadelphia region this June. Pride often means different things to different people. For some, Pride may mean embodying the history of the LGBTQ equality movement and advocating for LGBTQ rights; for others it may mean dancing unabashedly in a queer space to music made by queers; and for others it may mean, simply living openly and freely.
LGBTQ community members and their allies are bound to find something that resonates with them at the many Pride-centric events this season in Philly and the surrounding area.
Gay Pride Drag Tea (Saturdays in June)
Drag Tea returns for another Pride month at the Sofitel’s Chez Colette Brasserie every Saturday in June from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. While guests enjoy tea, scones, finger sandwiches and mimosas, Brittany Lynn and her award-winning Drag Mafia will perform a show that entails singing, dancing, burlesque and of course, humor. For tickets, visit https://www.sofitel-philadelphia.com/.
QUEERAPALOOZA Block Party and Music Festival (June 10)
Philly AIDS Thrift celebrates the 50th anniversary of Giovanni’s Room with the music festival and party QUEERAPALOOZA. Local queer musicians, DJs, drag performers, creative vendors, and books are at the crux of the festivities, taking place June 10 from noon to 5:00 p.m. outside of Giovanni’s Room on the corner 12th and Pine streets.
Philly Pride Run (June 10)
Those who want to elevate their heart rate can celebrate Pride by participating in the Philly Pride Run, hosted by William Way LGBT Community Center, Lez Run Running Club, and Out Philadelphia Athletic League. Bring your A-game to the Philadelphia Navy Yard 5k course at Broad Street and Intrepid Ave. at 7:00 a.m. on June 10. Prizes will be awarded to the top three female, nonbinary and male divisions, as well as the top three female, nonbinary and male wheelchair divisions.
“The Seeds This Soil Holds” opening reception (June 8)
Taking place on June 8 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at William Way, this reception and fundraiser celebrates the artwork of Keesean Moore of The Moore Vintage Archive, a design library and retail store that specializes in designer vintage womens wear. “The Seeds This Soil Holds” exhibit is an amalgamation of Moore’s poetry and a series of large-scale photographic silkscreen diptychs on paper, which Moore crafted by hand using images from William Way’s John J. Wilcox Archives. T-shirts bearing Moore’s original art, as well as prints, will be sold at the event. A percentage of sales will be donated to William Way. Guests can RSVP online.
Clay Studio exhibits honoring LGBTQIA+ stories (June)
The Clay Studio is featuring three new exhibits uplifting LGBTQ stories this Pride month: Alex Stadler’s “Gone & For Ever,” Heather Mae’s “Pride Pots: Community Conversations,” and “Introspection” by Clay Studio Executive Director Jennifer D. Martin. Artists, activists, community leaders and individuals have contributed to “Gone & For Ever,” a multifaceted memorial to Philadelphians and the HIV epidemic. “Pride Pots” is a community building art experience in which each person shares how they identify, their age, and their profession, which is exhibited in tandem with their hand-painted Pride pots. Martin’s works “capture a sense of simplicity and calmness while exploring new forms.” More at theclaystudio.org/.
Delaware County Pride Parade and Festival (June 3 and 10)
Delco is holding its very first Pride parade this year, to take place on June 3 from noon to 1:00 p.m. on State Street in Media, Pa. Community groups, nonprofits, performers and community members will make up the parade, which will feature rainbow flags, costumes, banners, music, dance, and advocacy messaging. The celebration continues through the evening with a range of LGBTQ-centric activities. A week later on June 10, Delco’s Pride festival will take place in Upper Darby from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m., and will serve up music, dancing, vendors, face painting, activities for kids and more. Additional info can be found at https://udtj.org/delcopride.
York County Pride (June 10)
The signature event of the Rainbow Rose Center, York County Pride offers live music, and drag performances by Poison, Xander Valentine, Catarina Coutour, and more. Vendors include the ACLU, Belladonna’s Boutique, Creative Arts in Healing, Free Mom Hugs, LGBT Housing Initiative, Nerd Alert Treasures and a slew of others. The celebration is set for June 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at All Trans Memorial Hall. For more info, visit https://www.rainbowrosecenter.org/.
Lancaster Pride (June 17)
Going strong since 2007, this year’s Lancaster Pride will be held at the Convention Center in downtown Lancaster on June 17 at noon. Festival-goers can expect drag performances, music, local and regional talent, and family fun. Visit https://lancpride.com/ for more information.
Lititz Pride (June 17)
Lititz Chooses Love brings back its Pride festival for the third year at Lititz Spring Park on June 17 at 11:00 a.m. In typical Pride fashion, the celebration will involve speakers, performers, family-centric activities and other fun ways of uplifting queer and trans lives. For more details, visit https://lititzpa.com/event/lititz-pride-festival/.
Doylestown Pride (June 17 to 25)
Taking place from June 17 to 25, Doylestown Pride is packed with a variety of events to celebrate LGBTQ+ people. A Pride music party, film screenings, a block party, pop-up events and a drag brunch are in store for the week of queer festivities. More information can be found at https://www.dtownpride.com/.
Narberth Pride (June 24)
Narberth’s Pride at the Park will take place on Jun 24 from noon to 6:00 p.m., featuring food, live music, neighborhood artists and vendors, and representation from nonprofits and student organizations. Pride at the Park strives to foster “a welcoming, educational, youth-led” Pride event for communities in Narberth, Lower Merion and nearby areas. For more info, visit https://prideatthepark.org/.
Bucks-Mont Pride (June 25)
Abington Art Center is the spot for Bucks-Mont Pride, hosted by Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA). On June 25 from noon to 5:00 p.m., guests can enjoy food, community resources, kids activities, and performances by Positive Movement Entertainment Drumline, Tangle Movement Arts, Jakeya Limitless, Deleqúa, and others. Get the full details at https://www.bucksmontpride.com/.
Reading Pride (July 16)
One of the oldest and largest Pride festivals in the region, Reading Pride offers tons of performers, a Pride kids area, spaces for teens and sober folks, vendors, food trucks and more. It’s scheduled for July 16 at Jim Dietrich Park at 11:00 a.m. More information about safety, inclusion and pets can be found at http://www.readingpridecelebration.org/festival-2023/.
Lehigh Valley Pride (August 20)
Slated for August 20, Lehigh Valley Pride will be held at The SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Planning for Lehigh Valley Pride is still underway, but the organizers are “planning for this to be Lehigh Valley’s most fabulous Pride Festival to date.” For more info, visit bradburysullivancenter.org/pride/.
Michele Zipkin is a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared.