The Baltimore Pride Celebration kicks off June 13 with “Twilight on the Terrace,” a cocktail party and fundraiser at Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The festival continues throughout the weekend, including a high heel race on Saturday and a block party on Sunday.
“We’ve expanded our footprint for Pride,” says Kelly Neel, interim executive director of the GLBT Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland, noting potential for a growing number of attendees.
Unlike previous years, this year’s Pride will feature entertainment and vending booths on both Saturday and Sunday instead of keeping those attractions separate from the parade, an adjustment Neel is looking forward to.
Baltimore Pride, which expects about 10,000 each day of the weekend-long celebration, will likely host a mass wedding this year, making a tradition out of a ceremony first held at last year’s Pride, the first year same-sex marriage was legal in the state.
Decades after the first Pride festivals were celebrated, Neel says there is still a place for them each summer, even as barriers fall for LGBT couples across the country.
“It’s great that there’s more awareness now and people are being more accepting of the LGBT community,” Neel says. “But I think that will just serve to make the parades bigger. Pride is not only a celebration of what’s going on in the now. It’s more a celebration of the past and a history of activism as well as the future.”
The city of brotherly love celebrates Philly Pride this weekend with a parade starting Sunday at noon from Philadelphia’s 13th and Locust streets. At this year’s pride — the first in Pennsylvania since same-sex marriage was legalized last month — the Hon. Dan Anders of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas will conduct marriage ceremonies at Independence Hall. Married couples will receive wristbands to the Pride festival.
The entertainment headliner is the Village People. Other Pride weekend events include a kick-off block party from 6-11 p.m. tonight on 12th Street between Walnut and Spruce, and the annual Dyke March on Saturday in Kahn Park at 3 p.m. For more details, visit phillypride.org.
The weeklong New York City Pride celebration starts June 24 this year, beginning with a family movie night featuring “The Wizard of Oz” at Hudson River Park’s Pier 46.
Other events include the rally on June 27, hosted by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge Michelle Visage and featuring performances from season four winner Sharon Needles as well as Betty Who, also set to play D.C. this weekend.
The centerpiece of the city’s Pride weekend is the New York Pride March, which steps off at noon. It begins at 36th St. and Fifth Ave., and ends at Christopher and Greenwich streets. What began as a 500-person “gay power” demonstration in June 1969 after the Stonewall Riots, has since grown into an annual civil rights celebration featuring 50 floats and more than 300 organizations.
This year’s Pride boasts big-name grand marshals: “Orange is the New Black” star Laverne Cox; lead actor in the hit HBO television series “Looking” Jonathan Groff; and Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Following the parade is Dance on the Pier from 4-10 p.m. on Hudson River Park Pier 26. All proceeds from this year’s dance, featuring a live performance from pop performer Demi Lovato, benefit the city’s official Pride events and LGBT community organizations. For more details on pride celebrations in New York City, visit nycpride.org.
Frederick’s third annual pride festival takes place June 28 from noon-6 p.m. in Carroll Creek Linear Park. Attractions include a pie eating contest, music performances, booths from local businesses, as well as an interfaith service at 11 a.m. the morning of Pride, a new addition this year. For more information, visit thefrederickcenter.org.
Chesapeake Pride festival kicks off later in the summer on Aug. 2 from noon-6 p.m at the Mayo Beach Park in Edgewater, Md. Head to the beach for “fun in the sun and a fabulous drag show,” Chesapeake Pride’s website says. Visit chesapeakepridefestival.org for details and updates.