The 29th-annual Philadelphia Pride Parade and Festival return to Philly this weekend, a week later than normal.
Philly Pride Presents originally scheduled the event for June 11 but pushed it back to June 18 so it would not conflict with the national March for Equality and Unity in Washington, D.C. Philly Pride Presents Executive Director Franny Price said she doesn’t anticipate this new date will affect event attendance.
This year, Philly Pride Presents collaborated with William Way LGBT Community Center, Lez Run Running Club and Out Philadelphia Athletic League to create a 1.5-mile fun run to kick off the parade. The sold-out Pride Run will have 260 participants run from Camac and Locust streets through the Gayborhood and past Independence Mall, en route to Penn’s Landing. The run serves as a precursor for the Philly Pride 5K Race planned for 2018.
“I think it will enthuse them [for the 5K Race],” Price said. “The first [event] is always an advertisement — a teaser — of what it can be.”
The parade will include grand marshals whom Price called “very prestigious to all of us.” This group includes Henry Sias and the Mazzoni Center front-line staff.
Sias ran for a seat on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and was set to become the nation’s first out trans male judge. While he did not get one of the nine spots in May’s primary, Price told PGN in May that he deserved recognition regardless of the election outcome.
Meanwhile, more than 50 Mazzoni front-line staff members will participate. These members staged a walkout in April calling for then-CEO Nurit Shein’s resignation. The group contended Shein mishandled sexual-impropriety allegations made against the organization’s resigned medical director. Shein also resigned days later.
“I personally salute the front-line staff of the Mazzoni Center,” Price said. “They risked their jobs for transparency. How many of us have had the nerve to do stuff like that?”
Price said she is also looking forward to meeting City Councilwoman Helen Gym, who will be honored as Friend of Pride. Among her recent LGBT involvement, Gym pioneered a city resolution honoring Transgender Day of Visibility in April and protested an anti-trans bus tour in the city.
Price said 86 contingents will march along with the grand marshals.
“We may not be the biggest Pride but we pass the most historic sites in the whole country,” Price said, noting the groups will pass Independence Hall, across from which the judges’ stand will be located.
The parade concludes at Penn’s Landing, where Pride-goers can visit 160 vendors and check out live performances at the festival. Duo Nancy and Beth, featuring Stephanie Hunt and “Will & Grace” star Megan Mullally, will headline the event, performing comedy and musical acts.
“It’s a celebration so we want people to laugh and have a good time, and they’re going to do that,” Price said.
Pride weekend kicks off with a block party 6-10 p.m. June 16 at 12th and Locust streets. It will include food, refreshments and discounted wristbands to the festival for $10, as opposed to the $15 price at the festival gates. The parade begins 11:30 a.m. June 18 at 13th and Locust streets and will reach the festival at approximately 1 p.m. The festival will be held noon-6 p.m. at Penn’s Landing, 101 Columbus Blvd. Visit www.phillygaypride.org for more information.
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