Families of all sizes and shapes are expected to converge in New Hope next month for the seventh-annual New Hope Celebrates, which will feature a week of festivities that highlight the vibrancy and diversity of the regional LGBT family.
The celebration kicks off May 10 and culminates in the annual Pride parade — this year themed “It’s a Family Affair” — at noon May 15, with several new additions.
For the first time, the Philadelphia Freedom Band, an LGBT marching band, will participate in the parade, which will be led by grand marshal Pennsylvania Sen. Daylin Leach (D-17th Dist.), who’s spearheading a marriage-equality bill in the state legislature.
“He’s been very active within the state legislature in terms of speaking out and advocating for equal rights, so I thought he’d be a great person for this,” said NHC chair Daniel Brooks.
Also new this year will be an entertainment area set up on Mechanic Street — the town’s “artists’ row” — where parade participants, singer-songwriters, bands and other entertainers will perform throughout the day.
The fun will not be limited just to Mechanic Street, as NHC has offerings spread throughout the entire riverside town.
At 1:30 p.m., The Last Temptation, 115 S. Main St., will open its doors for a family ice-cream social, and guests can work off those extra calories during the annual NHC softball game, 2-4 p.m. at the New Hope Solebury Upper Elementary School, 180 W. Bridge St., or at the Family Fit Fest and Zumba Dance Party, 3:30-5 p.m. at Cornerstone Health and Fitness, 415 S. York Road.
The Nevermore Hotel, 6426 Lower York Road, will host a vendor fair from 2-6 p.m. and participants can also hop aboard a mini bus to tour area breweries and wineries from 3-6 p.m. or head out on the first-ever History and Gallery Walking Tours. The free tours, sponsored by the New Hope Historical Society, will set out from the corner of West Ferry and South Main streets at 7 and 9 p.m. and visit the multitude of local art galleries, many of which, Brooks noted, will have LGBT-themed displays on exhibit throughout the week, while guests get a dose of New Hope’s rich history from the guides.
In the evening, the bars and clubs throughout the town will host a series of Pride-themed parties and shows, such as a performance by comedians Mel and El at The Nevermore at 9 p.m. and one by singer Christine Martucci, 9 p.m. at Triumph Brewing Company, 400 Union Square.
Throughout the day and evening, a trolley will loop through town — a service that started last year and that Brooks said was immensely popular with visitors.
Brooks said the myriad events offered by this year’s NHC were made possible through the impressive support of the local LGBT and ally community.
“Locally, it’s been tremendous,” he said. “I know a lot of Prides are struggling with national sponsorships, but it’s been so amazing that the local community has really come through for us — purchasing ads, donating money, and we were able to get 20 silent-auction baskets this year.”
The baskets will be up for auction at the various events throughout the week, along with raffle items such as two Southwest Airline tickets and $2,500 worth of season passes to Sesame Place.
Brooks said the diverse offerings — and the diverse people who come — at New Hope Celebrates set the Pride celebration apart from other local LGBT festivals.
“There are recreational things to do, history things to do, family things to do: We really cover the gamut of people’s interests and make it so that straight people come as well, and many of them do. We have something for everyone.”
For more information and to see the full slate of events for New Hope Celebrates, visit www.newhopecelebrates.com.