Philly Pride Presents executive director Franny Price said more than 16,000 people turned out for the 26th annual Pride festivities, the largest crowd to date.
Price said the great weather was just one of a number of factors contributing to this year’s success — including Pennsylvania’s recent marriage-equality victory and headliner The Village People.
“With marriage equality in the state, people had even more of a reason to celebrate,” she said. “But The Village People stole the show. Nobody left until they stopped performing.”
Price added that she expects this year’s record success to spill into future Prides.
“When people have a good time one year, they remember that for the next year and you keep growing every year.”
Price said 147 vendors set up shop at Penn’s Landing, with the organization having reached capacity two weeks before the festival. Philly Pride Presents sold more than 13,000 wristbands for the festival.
Before the history-making crowds reached Penn’s Landing, history was made in the parade. Three weeks after Pennsylvania legalized same-sex marriage, 12 same-sex couples married in front of the reviewing stand before Independence Hall on Market Street.
The couples were joined by out Court of Common Pleas Judges Dan Anders and Ann Butchart.
Price said the weddings were one of the day’s highlights.
“It’s something that I will remember for the rest of my life because it was done so tastefully and beautifully,” she said. “It made you want to get married. You could see the tears coming down, not only from those who were getting married but also from spectators. You could hear a pin drop, that is how overwhelming it was. It is something you would see in the movies and it was in front of the most historical spot in the whole country.”
Price said there were no reports of antigay protestors and no arrests or other incidents.
She said the entertainment line-up — which, along with The Village People, included comedian Lynne Koplitz, Ariana & The Rose, Betty and Well-Strung — was one of the best Pride has had in years.
“When I was backstage and I looked up, I could see generations of people of all ages singing ‘Macho Man’ and ‘Y.M.C.A.’ To see so many people doing the ‘Y.M.C.A.’ was amazing,” she said. “The Village People are iconic and the energy they had was amazing. I received so many messages from people telling me how happy they were to see them. There was not one empty space — all the walkways were blocked and there were a sea of people dancing along to their music.”
Price said this year’s Pride exceeded expectations on all levels.
“I think this has been the best Pride yet,” she said. “When I was at the stage and looked up, I could see people lined up to get in, and there were so many people. There was something at this year’s Pride that everyone was into.”
For more information, visit www.phillypride.org.