More than 5,000 people are expected to fill the streets of New Hope, Pennsylvania on Saturday for the city’s 16th-annual Pride celebration.
The event will feature more than 800 parade marchers, its largest-ever participant count.
Organized by New Hope Celebrates, a nonprofit that highlights the town’s history and culture, the event will kick off at 11:30 a.m. with the Pride Parade in Lambertville, New Jersey. The procession will then cross the Delaware River into the small Bucks County town before culminating in PrideFest Fair Live at the unofficial “Pride Park” at the American Legion parking lot on New Street near South Maine.
The event stands out as a Pride celebration that spans two states, said Matt Hanson, the president of New Hope Celebrates. The parade will feature the organization’s 100-foot equality flag and a “come as you are” theme.
“We embrace and are inclusive of everyone,” Hanson said. “We’re not going to have any judgments. We want people to be who they are in our town and come visit us.”
Entertainment acts, including local indie-rock band Brother Eye, artist Josh Zuckerman, singer Stephanie Chinn, drag queen Ruby Roo and the Doylestown School of Rock, will perform on a covered outdoor stage. Most of the event’s performers are LGBTQ, Hanson said.
New Hope Celebrates volunteers will man a bar featuring cocktails made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Templeton Rye Whiskey, two of the event’s sponsors, along with beer donated by the local Triumph Brewing Company.
Local drag queens Cyannie Lopez and Ginger Alley, named Miss New Hope Celebrates 2017 and 2018, respectively, will also perform. Regional drag performers compete in the annual Miss New Hope Celebrates Pageant in categories like presentation, talent and evening gown. Recently-crowned 2019 pageant winner Miss Sapphira Cristal will also join the show.
New Hope is already “painted in rainbow” as shops and restaurants have been requesting pride flags every day, Hanson said, adding that community involvement — spanning from children to the elderly — is what makes the event special.
“When we come over that bridge and see hundreds of kids and families waving Pride flags and loving being a part of it, [that] is really the moment for us that’s special because it’s not about the partying,” Hanson said. “It’s really about being a community and supporting each other.”
New Hope Celebrates Pride festivities kicked off last Saturday with the unfurling of a 25-foot, eight-color flag now stationed at the town’s Bridge and Main streets. One hundred Pride flags were also displayed on the New Hope and Lambertville Bridge.
New Hope Pride will be free, with a $5 suggested donation. Some proceeds will benefit the New Hope Eagle Fire Department.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Hanson hopes attendees will leave New Hope’s festival with a sense of pride in the LGBTQ community.
“We have these celebrations, we have Pride because it’s important because we’re still fighting for rights, and we’re still fighting for recognition,” Hanson said. “It’s not over. That’s why we still do it.
Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia