Lancaster Pride Set for June 19

Lancaster Pride is set for another lively year June 19, noon- 6 p.m. at Lancaster’s Buchanan Park. The park is located near Franklin and Marshall College.

The third such event in Lancaster, the first two years drew rave reviews from a usual crowd of about 1,000 to 2,000 attendees. Organizers put together a venue that celebrates the lives of lgbtqa folks and is child and family friendly. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The outdoor festival features a mix of live entertainment, vendors booths, that run from arts and crafts to pride regalia, plus a full menu of food offerings. Local theatres, live bands as well as choirs, choruses, comedians and drag performers wow the growing crowd. Silent Witness volunteers, local police, and campus security are on hand to safely escort attendees and shield them from any potential protesters. In previous years only a handful of protestors have shown up and the venue has remained peaceful and free of incident.

Another way to help the event is by attending Isaac’s Night Fundraiser, Wed., May 26, 5:30 p.m. until closing at Downtown Isaac’s on Queen St. The event includes the deli’s popular Pickle Bar. Lancaster Pride will also have an information and merchandise table set up on First Friday, June 4, at Building Character, 342 North Queen St. Lancaster . 5 -9 p.m.

Recently Lancaster Pride announced a partnership with the LGBT Community Center Coalition of Central PA. The center will manage administrative duties of the pride venue in exchange for a fee-based percentage from their revenues. The event will now operate under the center’s non-profit status and market itself as a “Project of the LGBT Community Center.”

“We reached out to the Center to discuss ways we could work together,” says Lancaster Pride co-chair, Chris Baldwin, “and they were really open to hearing our ideas and looking for a solution that would help us both. The conversations that followed were easy and thorough and we talked about everything. It was the kind of open conversations that partners have, and I’m really pleased with the outcome. I honestly think that it will make the lives of both groups better.”

Center board president Ted Martin expanded on Baldwin’s sentiments. “The Center is always looking for the best ways to support the community. That is our purpose and all our efforts are aimed at making this one goal tangible. This partnership with Lancaster Pride is a proud moment and it makes our mission of finding common ground for the region’s lgbt community just a little more real. Plus, we are helping a great organization like Lancaster Pride grow and that’s a tremendously positive feeling.”

Under the agreement, the Lancaster event maintains its officers and volunteer leadership and remains in full control of the event and organization. “That’s one of the key elements of the agreement” says Martin. “On a working level, the only major changes will be how Pride’s banking is done and that they can now function as a non-profit organization. We really worked hard to find a way for Pride to maintain its identity, leadership, and place in the community while giving the center the ability to maintain its operational standing.”

“In everything that we talked about, it seemed that the center was always interested in supporting the work that Pride was already doing. They said this repeatedly and stuck by their word,” says co-chairs Chris Baldwin and Mark Stoner. “That was an important factor in making this agreement happen.”

The governing body holds open community meetings and encourages attendance by anyone interested in helping out. The next meetings are Wed., May 19 and Wed. June 16, Fulton Theatre, 7-8 p.m.

The all volunteer-led event is managed by a Steering Committee comprised of Co-Chairs, Chris Baldwin, Mark Stoner; Media Contact, Anthony Lascoskie JR, Web Design, Lauren Bitner; Fundraising/Entertainment, Sue Meister; Logistics, Chris Baldwin; Vendors, Nancy Gockley; Volunteers, Erica Millner; Pageants, Whitley Nycole DeAire.

Info: http://lancasterpride.com

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