With Philly’s Pride still over a month away, the local LGBT community can get its next dose of gaiety at New Hope Celebrates Pride, May 15-17. The event will feature the annual array of entertainment, activities, tours and parties — which are expected to draw more than 5,000 to the small riverside town — and this year will place special emphasis on the inclusion of LGBT families.
Dan Brooks, NHC president, said the organization aimed to design family-friendly programs and that, while in the planning stages, the organization received calls from Gay Parent magazine and Sesame Place, which were eager to sponsor the festivities.
“This was pretty huge,” Brooks said. “Sesame Place has not participated like this in any GLBT activities before. The reach-out effort on their part is greatly appreciated.”
Lauren Weil, secretary of the NHC board, is organizing the family-friendly component at this year’s pride.
Weil, who has two children with her partner of 11 years, said the family events fit well into the week, as they encourage participation by all LGBT and ally supporters, not just LGBT families.
“New Hope is very open and accepting and Pride is really community-oriented,” she said. “There are parents whose kids go to school with mine and while they’re not gay, they’re like, ‘Absolutely, we’ll come and we’ll march with you.’ It’s really important for my kids and other kids with families like ours to see people around them are supporting them.”
For May 16 Pride parade, LGBT families and allies interested in marching will gather at 11:30 a.m. at the parking lot of New Hope-Solebury High School, 180 W. Bridge St.
From 2:30-4:30 p.m. that day, “Family Fun and Fitness” will be held on the grounds of the New Hope-Solebury Elementary School, and from 2:30-4:30 p.m. the following day, parents and kids are invited to the “Proud to be Families and Friends Afternoon Tea Dance” at Kehilat HaNahar, 85 W. Mechanic St., which will feature music from Sounds by Shelly.
The festivities will also offer plenty of activities for LGBT and ally individuals sans kids, such as the May 12 “Flower Power BINGO” at the Eagle Volunteer Fire Co., 46 N. Sugan Road, which has a ticket price of $14.
From 6-8 p.m. May 13 at Havana’s, 105 S. Main St., the Bridge Professional Network Group will host a networking dinner — which includes a three-course prix-fixe option for $20 — during which NHC organizers will honor this year’s NHC grant recipients, The Trevor Project, Philadelphia FIGHT, FACT Bucks County and the William Way LGBT Community Center.
Each organization will receive $500 from NHC and an additional $500 from the New Hope Chamber of Commerce.
On May 15, Harlans at The Nevermore, 6426 Lower York Road, will present the audience-participation mind-reading show “Mind Gaymes” at 8:30 p.m. Visitors can also stop by the annual “Pumpkin’s Pride Review” at 9 p.m. at John & Peter’s Place, 96 S. Main St., and “Girl’s Night Out” at Triumph Brewing Company, 400 Union Square, featuring the Christine Martucci Band at 10 p.m.
The noon parade the following day will feature such entertainers as the D.C. Cowboys, the New York City Big Apple Corps, ANT from Comedy Central’s “Last Comic Standing” and DJ Mark Picchiotti of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” as well as U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Eighth Dist.) and dozens of other individuals and groups.
The day will also feature a softball tournament, LGBT art displays and history tours.
At 10 p.m., the Josh Zuckerman Band will take the stage at Triumph, followed by DJ Ron Blessington.
Actor Kelly McGillis will host “Sing Out Loud and Proud 2009,” beginning at 2 p.m. May 17 at the Stephen Buck Auditorium in the high school, which will feature a performance by ANT. Picchiotti and other entertainers will headline the “Proud to Be” closing event at The Nevermore from 4-10 p.m.
Brooks noted that although NHC had some difficulties locating funding sources for this year’s event, in light of the economic conditions, twice the number of LGBT and mainstream organizations and individuals in the New Hope area contributed to the event than last year. Brooks said the diverse donor base is a reflection of the eclectic crowd that gathers for Pride.
“I think there’s an atmosphere here that you’re not going to find elsewhere,” he said. “The people who participate in the events and attend the parade are such a diverse mix. It’s worth the 45-minute trip just to be a part of the awesome crowd.”
For more information about the NHCP events, visit www.newhopecelebrates.com.