Winter Pride returns for second year
by Angela Thomas
Jan 09, 2014 | 906 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If you’re tuning out the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia because of the country’s anti-LGBT policies, you can still get your own dose of Olympic favorite ice skating at the second annual Winter Pride.

Winter Pride, which is run by Philly Pride Presents, will return for a second year from 1-4 p.m. Feb. 23 at Blue Cross RiverRink at Penn’s Landing.

Last year’s inaugural event was staged at night, but the second incarnation will be during the day, with longer hours.

“Everybody thought two hours wasn’t enough and wanted it during the day so everybody could come,” said Philly Pride Presents executive director Franny Price. “Last year, families didn’t bring their kids because it was a Friday night but now it can be for families too.”

The event is $20 and will include three hours of skating and skate rental and, like last year, will also serve as a fundraiser for LGBT organizations.

“Our event could be a fundraiser for nonprofits where any nonprofit purchasing at least a dozen tickets will only pay half-price,” Price said. “They can offer their members discounted tickets or use them as fundraisers for their organizations.”

Price said last year’s great turnout helped motivate the Philly Pride team to coordinate a second event.

“Last year, everybody had a great time. In spite of the cold, we did not see one person without a smile on their face,” she said. “People were proud of themselves that they learned to skate and it was a nice time.”

And, Price noted, Winter Pride is open to skaters of all skill levels — which can produce some amusing scenes.

“We saw some fun things last year,” she said. “We saw one guy skating around and yelling, ‘I told you I could skate!’ and he couldn’t stop, so he crashed into everyone.”

Price said she is trying to get out two-time Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir to return for the event.

But, because of his commitment as an ice-skating analyst at the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, Russia, he may not be available.

“He promised us that if he is around, he will do a program for us. At Winter Pride, you can see people who can really skate but when you see an Olympic skater skate, it is almost as if they are floating on air. It is like nothing you will ever see.”

The Philadelphia Freedom Band will perform and provide background music for skaters.

Community vendors will also be on hand, including sports organizations and Team Philadelphia clubs. Pride organizers will also announce the identity of the 2014 Miss Philly Gay Pride, who was selected this year by a committee of Philly Pride Presents.

Up to 300 guests are expected to attend, Price said.

“We want it to be safe for our community,” she said. “You can ice-skate and be around people in your community. Our community is wonderful together and people feel safe when you are with your own community.”

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