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For a second year, the Northwest Pennsylvania Pride Alliance will be forced to hold its annual Pridefest as an online event due to lingering concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Erie Virtual Pride Festival will be held on the LECOM stage of the Erie Playhouse on June 26. The event will be available on the NWPA Pride Alliance Facebook page and on the Erie Playhouse YouTube channel.

June is Pride Month, a time when people recognize the contributions and influence of LGBTQ people around the world, and raise awareness, including through political protests, about the issues facing the LGBTQ community. . Pride Month is celebrated in June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969 and the landmark United States Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage a nationwide right on June 26, 2015.

PrideFest will feature performances at the Playhouse of stages from the Broadway shows “Rent,” “Kinky Boots” and “Into the Woods”, drag performances and speakers including US Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa., And the Mayor. by Erie Joe Schember. There will also be panel discussions with members of Playhouse on the impact of the LGBTQ community on theater.

“We are doing our best to make it feel as close as possible to an in-person event with the current restrictions and our own self-imposed restrictions,” said NWPA Pride Alliance Chairman Alex Sphon. “All in all, given the scale of the restrictions we faced over the past year, it turned out pretty well. There were certainly things we were able to identify in our feedback and that we needed to improve and we definitely did this year.

“One of the challenges we had was the interaction in regards to the series,” he said. “So we’re changing, it’s going to be streamed live on the NWPA Pride Alliance Facebook page, and then it’s also going to be on Erie Playhouse’s YouTube. So there will be a number of ways to watch it, interact and really talk to people. other people in the community while the show is going on. “

The day after Pridefest, June 27, the NWPA Pride Alliance will host a Drive Your Pride event at Presque Isle State Park. The event will replace the annual Pride Parade this year. Participants are encouraged to decorate their vehicles as “personal parade floats” with flags, banners and signs. They will gather outside the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at 1 p.m. and Drive Your Pride will hit the road at 2 p.m.

After: Pride month 2021

Sphon said that despite the lifting of several health and safety restrictions related to COVID-19, there was not enough time to change course and return to events in person. However, Sphon and the NWPA Pride Alliance Board of Directors will be discussing in-person events for the coming months, including a Pride Picnic and Waldameer Pride Day in August, as well as an evening of pride in an Erie SeaWolves game.

Another event that is part of the Pride Month celebrations in Erie is a free and confidential HIV test on June 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Zone Dance Club parking lot, 133 W. 18th St., for anyone aged 14 and over. Neither parental permission nor tickets are required to be tested. A quick test, which involves a finger prick, will produce results after 2 minutes.

The HIV testing event is the second of four scheduled for Erie in 2021. It is hosted by the NWPA Pride Alliance, Northwest Alliance, Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, City of Erie, Erie Gay News, Dickey’s BBQ and others. Northwest Alliance will perform the tests using its new mobile test unit. Each person tested will receive a $ 5 Country Fair Cash card and a coupon for a free sandwich at Dickey’s BBQ.

Archives: Erie Pridefest 2019 draws around 2,500 people to Perry Square

These are just three of the many events that take place throughout June in Erie.

Throughout the month of June, the Erie County Public Library will host “Looking Back: A History of the LGBTQ + Community in Erie” at the Blasco Library, 160 E. Front St. Library Floor.

The exhibit will be located next to the 2021 LGBTQ Jury Art Show, curated by the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality. The exhibit features more than 50 works of art – paintings, sculptures, photographs, fibers, pastels, drawing, fine jewelry and mixed media – by 25 LGBTQ artists from northwestern Pennsylvania. Erie Arts & Culture funded the 2021 LGBTQ Jury Art Exhibition with a grant.

For more information on “A Look Back: A History of the LGBTQ + Community in Erie”, visit www.facebook.com/erielgbthistory or send an email to [email protected] For more information on the 2021 LGBTQ Sworn Art Exhibition. Greatereriealliance.com, E-mail: [email protected] or call the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality at 866-229-1974.

For more information about the library, including opening hours, visit erielibrary.org or dial 814-451-6900.

Other regional Pride Month events include:

  • UPMC pride flag raising, 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, UMPC Hamot Front Lawn, 201 State St.: Employees will raise the Pride Flag in recognition of Pride Month. “We are proud of our commitment to provide the best possible care to all and to treat everyone equally and respectfully, without exception UPMC will raise the flag in honor of Pride Month,” said the UPMC Hamot spokesperson Karen Beardsley in a statement. “We recognize, understand and appreciate that it is healthy and fair to accept our differences, among staff and patients, and that we work best when we work as a team.”
  • Ashtabula County Pride 2021, noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, 1498 State Route 46 South, Jefferson, Ohio: The event, sponsored by the Ashtabula County LGBTQ Community Club, will include a talent show, drag performances, music, pony rides, face painting and free HIV testing. Facebook.com/PrideAshtabulaCounty.
  • Jamestown Pride Festival, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., June 12, Jamestown Public Market, 17 W. Third St., Jamestown, NY: The festival kicks off at Tracy Plaza with a Pride flag raising and commemorative ceremony on the fifth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shoot in Orlando, Florida. Jamestown Pride will be part of the Jamestown Public Market, with tents and pride-themed activities, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The activities will also take place from noon to 9 p.m. at Wintergarden Plaza on North Main Street. Free show at 8 p.m. by RuPaul’s Drag Race Star and Pandora Boxx from Jamestown.
  • Warren County Pride Day, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., June 26, Betts Park, 400 Ludlow St., Warren: The event, according to event organizer, Warren County Pride, will feature a variety of speakers, entertainment and d quality attractions outside the city.
  • GayDay Crawford, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., July 11, Diamond Park, 903 Diamond Park, Meadville: The annual event is billed as “a day to celebrate diversity in Crawford County, showcase small businesses and have a good time with your neighbors and friends ”. There will be food, activities and music throughout the day.

Contact Matthew Rink at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ETNrink.





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