Reading: A Weekend of Pride Events July 16-18

by Donald Maher, marketing/pubic relations chairperson for Reading Pride Celebration

While many believe that Reading Pride is just a one day event, it is actually so much more. It is true that the main Pride Festival will occur on Sunday, July 18th in Centre Park, but it is actually an entire “Weekend of Pride Events.”

Forum on the Gay Bar

Reading Pride Celebration’s weekend of events begins on Friday July 16th, with a forum on the “gay bar.” The evening will include the showing of the award winning film “Small Town Gay Bar,” which offers a poignant look at the struggle waged by rural Americans to find a place of their own and shows just how hard it can be to fit in when homophobia and intolerance are the status quo. The film documents the owners of two gay bars in the Deep South who speak candidly about the challenges to maintain their presence in hostile territory and what emerges is a telling tale told about the ongoing quest for equal rights in the small towns of the United States.

The evening will also include music, presentation, personal sharing, feedback from the audience and a reception. This forum begins at 7 PM at the Schmidt Training and Technology Center of the Reading Area Community College, 10 S. 2nd Street.
Pride in Faith Interfaith Prayer Service

On Saturday July 17th, Reading Pride will host an interfaith prayer service entitled “Pride in Faith Interfaith Prayer Service.” The service commences at 7 PM at Calvary United Church of Christ, located at 640 Centre Ave.

Pride Night Before Party

After the prayer service and later that night, join Reading Pride at 10 PM on Saturday July 17th at the Red Star Saloon, 11 S. 10th St., the “Pride Night Before Party.”

Pride Festival

The weekend’s main event is of course the Pride Festival itself which as noted above occurs on Sunday July 18th. Reading Pride is delighted to present as this year’s headliner the internationally acclaimed hit-maker Thea Austin. Anyone who has ever spent time on a dance floor will have no problem remembering her many hits (“I’m Addicted To You”, ”Don’t Stop”, “Rhythm is a Dancer”, “I Can’t Get Enough”, “I Got the Power”) just to name a few.

Also performing at this year’s event and back by popular demand is Tom Goss. Adding to the entertainment will be DJ Evelyn and your favorite Drag Queens and Kings.
Idol Contest and Pet Drag Show

In addition to the entertainment there will be two contests. First is the Reading Pride Idol contest. Second is the Pet Drag show. You can register on line at readingpridecelebration.org

After Party

Following the Pride Festival and on Sunday evening July 18th Reading Pride will head to a castle for the crowning event of the weekend. The pride celebration will continue with a major after party beginning at 7 PM at the new Stokesay Castle with DJ, music and dancing. $5 cover with drinks and food available for purchase. The castle is located at 141 Stokesay Castle Lane in Reading; and has lots of room for kings, queens and other lesser royalty. For directions see Stokesay.net or call 610 375 610.

Stokesay Castle

While it is the site of Reading Pride’s after party this year, Stokesay Castle is a destination in and of itself and is worth a comment or two. It was built in 1931 by George Heister as a honeymoon cottage for his bride, closely duplicating the original Stokesay Castle in Shrophire, England built in 1240 and still in existence. The bride did not find the castle to her liking and it was sold eventually becoming a restaurant and banquet facility. It reopened last year after new owners put some $2.5 million into the renovations to restore the castle to its former glory. The castle sits on 10 acres and has some 43,000 square feet of building space.

Happy Pride

On behalf of Reading Pride Celebration, we hope to see you at these “Weekend of Pride Events.” Bring your friends and family members and have a great time. Enjoy the celebrations and take pride in your self and in our community. Happy Pride! For further information, see readingpridecelebration.org

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