Despite sporadic rain showers, more than 25,000 people attended Outfest Oct. 9, said Philly Pride Presents Executive Director Franny Price.
“The rain didn’t dampen anybody’s spirits,” she said.
Price added that while 174 groups registered to have a table for the 27th-annual event, only 28 did not show up.
“I’m sure there were some people who woke up, saw rain and went back to sleep,” she added. “But all of the performers showed up as well. Everybody was just wonderful.”
However, Price also noted what she called the “worst-ever” anti-LGBT protesters. She said they were initially in front of Mazzoni Center’s Washington West Project Rapid Testing Clinic but the police asked them to move across the street to not interfere with conversations between workers and clients. Officer Troy Brown told PGN in an email that no arrests were made.
“To sit there and see the signs and hear the things they were saying — about condoms; they had signs that said ‘Got AIDS yet?’ or ‘Go to Hell Homosexuals and Muslims’ — was so terrible,” Price said.
Conversely, Price said the onstage entertainment was uplifting. Among the highlights were the annual award winners. They included Michael P. Williams with the National OutProud Award, Tenika Watson with the OutProud Transgender Award, Bread & Roses Community Fund with the OutProud Award and Alex Phillips with the OutStanding Youth Award. Ashley Coleman and Dena Underwood received the first-time OutProud Couple Award.
Price said she was impressed by the age of the crowd, which she said is getting “younger and younger.”
“When I think about 10 years ago and everyone [in attendance] was in their 30s or older, and now the average person in front of that stage is between 13-25, it’s amazing that more and more young people are coming out. We asked the crowd at one time, ‘How many people came out of the closet within the last five years?’ And almost everyone raised their hand that was under 20 or 21. It’s interesting that our events are getting much younger and younger.”
As for future events, Price said Philly Pride Presents hopes to do more outreach for volunteers.