(WHTM) — With June being Pride Month, many Midstate organizations would typically put on a big festival or even a parade. Obviously, the circumstances of COVID-19 have made big events still a little too difficult to put on. However, Pride finds a way as organizations all across central Pennsylvania have been putting together smaller events with the same amount of heart. Here’s a guide to celebrating pride in your region.
The organizers at the Rainbow Rose Center wanted to dream big for their first Pride event. But unfortunately, COVID got in the way.
“Early on we realized that, for the safety of our community, we would need to do a virtual event,” Rainbow Rose Center President Tesla Taliaferro said. “The Rainbow Rose Center was grateful to host the first-ever York County Pride presented in 2021 by WellSpan Health.”
The Pride event went through on June 5 and is available to watch here but there’s still much more York has to offer for Pride-goers.
“As restrictions started to ease and vaccination numbers rose, we determined it was also necessary to create some in-person celebrations for Pride,” Taliaferro said. “This included a live stream of our virtual event at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts Capitol Theatre, our Pride at the Ballpark by UPMC with the York Revolution on June 11, a Pride Skate Night on June 19, and an Operatic Celebration of Pride on June 26.”
Even after the calendar flips to July, that doesn’t mean the festivities have to end. Among those activities are a few clothing drives, the first in June, one in late July and another in the fall.
“We are also really looking forward to our Rainbow Rose 5k Run, which is a virtual run from Coming Out Day on October 11 through Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20,” Taliaferro said.
Many of the events that are happening down the road are still going to take some time before all the details are ironed out. To get a breakdown of all of York County’s Pride events, visit their calendar through the link here.
Pride events in Lancaster always look to provide some fun. Even with COVID protocols in place, Lancaster still found a way to keep Pride going in the Red Rose City.
The Red Rose Film Festival will be hosting a Pride Night screening on June 24. The festival will include the premiere of Marionette Land, a film made by local filmmaker Alexander Monelli with a panelist discussion following afterward.
Lancaster will still be hosting a big Pride event later in October. October 24, one week before Halloween, Lancaster Pride will be at Clipper Magazine Stadium with music, drag, vendors, and much more. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and admission is only $5.
The Lancaster Pride organization has been thankful for the LGBTQ+ Coalition for going through the effort of encouraging people to vaccinate. Because of these vaccination efforts, it’s possible that Lancaster Pride can hold these events again as Lancaster Pride President Alex Otthofer explains.
“The lifting of restrictions made the October Pride Fest possible. You have a much higher chance of success when people are comfortable, and vaccinations do that,” Otthofer said. You can find more information and future events through the link here.
Lebanon is looking forward to its first swing at a Pride event in 2021. “Everyone from this area just went to Lancaster or Harrisburg. I’m not sure why it’s never been tried before,” Manager for The Church, Reese Sweigart said. Lebanon’s Got Pride is set to make its debut on June 26 at 4 p.m. at Scott Church’s The Church on South 8th Street.
Despite this event being the first-of-its-kind for Lebanon, Sweigart remains confident that Lebanon’s Got Pride will unify.
“This year, we are simply trying to break the ice in the Lebanon community and show that we are here and we do want the freedom we deserve. We will make absolutely no profit from this year’s event. It’s all about bringing the community together and supporting equality,” Sweigart said.
While it is big that this is Lebanon’s first Pride event, it’s also a small step toward something even bigger becoming a mainstay in the area.
“As for doing another event in the fall, there is no plan for that. We just need this one big thing this year to make the city and the county face the fact that it is a desired gathering and supports the community as a whole,” Sweigart said. “Our plan is that we can do a full Pride festival next year if the city cooperates again. We are determined to make this an annual event because the area needs it.”
You can find more information on Lebanon’s Got Pride through the link here.
Pride in the state capitol was always a big event. “Before COVID, the Pride Festival had become an event that took over the entire Capitol fountain area behind the East Wing and all of Soldiers Grove for an annual daily event,” this year’s Pride organizer, Jeffrey Mitchell said. “The Pride Festival normally features performers and vendors from all over Central Pa. Pride traditionally wrapped up with a headliner concert event. One of the most recent headliners being Alaska from RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
It’s pretty tough to follow up on such a grand festival, but Mitchell’s event still promises to be just as fun, even if it’s scaled-down. This year there will be a Pride Unfestival starting on July 31 with a vast array of events including bingo, cabaret, mad libs, improv, and of course, the grand finale is a drag show. The best part of it all? The proceeds made from the UnFestival will go towards next year’s regular Pride celebration. “We hope that the Pride Festival of Central Pa. is able to return at full strength next summer and we organized this day of community events to raise funds to support the Pride Festival’s return next year.”
If that still doesn’t sound like enough Pride celebration for you, don’t you worry. “There will be a Pride brunch at the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center on August 1 along with an outdoor dance party on the roof of the Cielo Lounge,” Mitchell said. The brunch will feature Jeffrey performing under his drag name, Betty Whitecastle.
Tickets for the Un-Festival are $5 for each event while the Pride brunch is $25. Two days that could go a long way into securing a Pride Festival comeback in 2022.
“Rest assured we have a strong and vital LGBTQ community here and there will always be a Pride Celebration in Central Pennsylvania,” Mitchell said. You can find more information on Pride the Unfestival through the link here.