Party with a purpose at Philly Pride

Patrick Hagerty

The sea of rainbow flags waving through Center City towards a lively festival at Penn’s Landing every summer signifies a day of celebration with an underlying purpose.

Sunday is the 27th annual Philly Pride, this year honoring the 50th anniversary of the first of the Annual Reminders — the first organized gay rights protests in the country, which took place in front of Independence Hall.

More than 200 organizations, including vendors and sponsors, are participating in the Pride parade and festival. Headlining are Fran Drescher, “The Nanny” actress and LGBT activist, and Alex Newell of “Glee.”

Equality Pennsylvania, the statewide LGBT advocacy organization, is joining in the celebration to get the word out abouttheir ongoing mission of bringing equality to LGBT Pennsylvanians. Same-sex marriage is now legal here, but executive director Ted Martin is determined to end all discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The group records stories of LGBT discrimination and visits Pride events throughout the state to promote awareness of the cause and find people who want to share their stories with a wider audience.

“Our time at Pride fest is to celebrate the community, partake in the work for local advocates and educate the public on this campaign,” says Martin. “We’re there to make sure that people know their stories matter, and that telling their stories to elected officials and the public is important.”

Gay Men’s Chorus:

One local organization taking part in the festivities aims to unite through a universal language: music.

The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus have been participating in both official and unofficial Pride events since the 1980s. This year they will have a float in the parade and run a booth where audition signups will be welcomed and encouraged.

“The men in the chorus are encouraged by a sense of giving back to the community,” says Thom Wolfinger, outreach coordinator for the Chorus. “We have the ability to affect change in the minds of young people today, through music.”

The details:

The parade kicks off in the heart of the Gayborhood, at 13th and Locust at 11:30 a.m. The festival gates open at noon at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing; the parade is expected to get there around 1 p.m.

There’s a $15 cover for the festival, or pick up a festival wristband for $10 Friday night at the Pride pre-party, at 12th and Locust from 6 to 10 p.m.

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