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April 29, 2021

Revamped Philly Pride moved to Labor Day weekend

There won't be a parade this year, but a festival at Penn's Landing is in the works


Philly's Gay Pride festival was pushed back to Labor Day weekend from its usual date in June to give organizers more time to plan a safe, fun event and secure sponsors.

Philly's Gay Pride celebration will take place on Labor Day this year for the first time in the event's history. 

Organizers say things will look a little different this year, calling the revamped event "Pride Lite." The parade lead-in will not take place this year, and instead the event will be a ticketed festival at Penn's Landing on Saturday, Sept. 4. 

"It's such a big event, and everybody really enjoys it. Not doing it is a bummer, and doing these virtual things is also a bummer," Chuck Volz, senior advisor of Philly Pride Presents, said in an interview with PhillyVoice. "I just think everybody will be happy to come and do something that's light and entertaining."

Because the COVID-19 pandemic is so temperamental, Volz said the event's details could change as it gets closer to September. Any updates will be posted to the Philly Pride Presents Facebook page. 

The Philadelphia Health Department just relaxed some of its restrictions on gatherings as COVID-19 cases continue to fall in the city. Indoor gatherings are permitted to increase to 25% capacity and outdoor gatherings can increase to 50% capacity.

Organizers will likely have to cap attendance based on the regulations in September, and they are not sure if they'll be able to sell tickets at the event itself. Vendors and entertainment are also currently up in the air. 

As a follow-up to our posting about Pride on September 4, 2021: we are unable to do a Pride celebration in June (as we...

Posted by Philly Pride Presents on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Securing vendors for the festival has proven to be a challenge. Moving the date to September allowed organizers the time to seek more financial support, as well as time for COVID restrictions to loosen up.

"A lot of our money comes from sponsorship, it's seed money that's necessary for our event," Volz said. "So this way we can get sponsors lined up for September. We'll know what we can promise them and what we can't promise them."

Volz said OutFest, which is known as one of the nation's oldest National Coming Out Day celebrations, has been canceled this year. Outdoor dining structures lining the streets make it a challenge for the block party to host its usual booths and vendors.

Organizers said they pushed Pride to September to be "something in the middle" of traditional June Pride and October's OutFest. 

Pride organizers are planning to watch other events at Penn's Landing, like the Fourth of July celebration, to gauge what their event could look like.

"I think everybody's going to come and have a great old time. I'm looking forward to it, I've been doing it for the past 25 years," Volz said. "It'll be fun, it'll be entertaining, it'll be colorful!"

Last year, Pride was canceled altogether because of the pandemic since Philly Pride typically draws a crowd of 25,000.

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