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May 28, 2024

Festivals, marches and a giant flag: Your guide to Philly Pride Month's first week

Catch an improv comedy night, dance on Moshulu or attend a queer prom at the art museum. There are plenty of ways to celebrate.

Festivals Pride Month
Philly Pride Parade Provided Image/Aversa PR

This year's Philly Pride March and Festival features a 400-foot-long Pride flag. The flag also is being displayed Friday at various locations.

The first week of LGBT Pride Month in Philly is undoubtedly the biggest. The annual parade and festival is set for Sunday — and there are still many things to do in the lead-up.

Philly Pride 365 – the program put on by the nonprofit Galaei – is hosting a summer ball at the Franklin Institute, unveiling a 400-foot-long Pride flag and hosting a headlining performance from "RuPaul's Drag Race" runner-up Sapphira Cristál prior to the main event – the parade and festival. 

Other groups also are putting on Pride events, including a boat party, comedy show and the return of the long-running Philadelphia Dyke March. 

Here's a look at the various events this week:

Pride Around the City

On Friday, Philly Pride 365 is bringing a 400-foot-long Philadelphia Pride Rainbow Flag to different parts of the city as a preview to its big festivities. The flag is being unveiled at the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 9 a.m. and then appearing at eight other locations, including the north side of City Hall at noon and the Gayborhood at 8 p.m. 

The other locations will be revealed Thursday during a press conference at the Sofitel Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square. 

Science After Hours: Summer Ball

Galaei and the Franklin Institute are teaming up to host a kick-off party that showcases a lineup of drag performers curated by drag queen Eric Jaffe, who made a brief appearance in the season finale of "RuPaul's Drag Race." The event takes place Friday from 7:30 p.m. to midnight and includes a main-floor performance by drag artist Lili St. Queer and ballroom lessons from choreographer Kemar Jewel.

Giddy Up Philly is hosting line dancing and Philly Cheer Elite is doing routines and cheers. There also is a Drag Bingo game. Sounds from Drootrax and DJ R3M SATIVA are accompanied by visuals from Liquid Light. A balloon drop commemorates the beginning of Pride Month when the clock strikes midnight. 

The 21+ event costs $40. Food and beverages are additional. 

Pride Promenade

For LGBTQ community members who may have been denied a proper high school prom experience, the Pride Promenade is the perfect experience to reclaim it. Located at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in collaboration with Galaei's Philly Pride 365 program, the 21+ event invites LGBTQ members to dress up and dance the night away on Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The prom lineup features Snatcherella, a recurring show that searches for the next big names in Philly nightlife. It also includes Eric Jaffe, Icon Ebony-Fierce and Luna Thee Jawnette. 

The Pride Promenade costs $30. Proceeds and donations benefit the Youth Queer Homecoming Dance hosted by Galaei in the fall. 

Delco Pride Parade

Delaware County has its Pride Parade on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. Starting at State Street in Media, the parade route is about 1 mile in length and includes a procession of local participants, performers, and community and nonprofit groups. This is the second Pride Month parade in Delco, and a proper Delco Pride Festival will take place in Upper Darby on Saturday, June 8.

Philly Dyke March

After a five-year hiatus, the Philly Dyke March is making a grand return Saturday. Marchers are gathering at Kahn Park at 11 a.m. The march is set to begin at noon. 

The march is one of many demonstrations for gay and lesbian rights taking place around the U.S. This one focuses on the "dyke" identity, and is framed as a more radical protest compared to others that than have been criticized as being too corporate and oriented toward white, cisgendered people. 

The annual event came to fruition in 1998, but took a pause from 2020 to 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers participated in other events, including the Philly Queer March for Black Lives in 2020 and the Philly Pride March in 2022 and 2023. 

Also on Saturday, the Philly Dyke March Re-Birth, a different march organized by Philly Dyke Night, begins at Washington Square at 1 p.m.

Philly Pride March and Festival

The massive festival organized by Galaei begins with a march through Center City at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The march starts at Sixth and Walnut streets and ends in the Gayborhood. The festival spans from Walnut Street to Pine Street and Quince Street to Juniper Street.

The march serves as an ode to the Reminder Day demonstrations that took place in front of Independence Hall from 1965 to 1969. Those demonstrations sought to raise awareness of discrimination against LGBTQ community members. The parade features the 400-foot-long Pride Flag. 

The festival runs from noon to 7 p.m. and includes more than 200 small businesses, with vendors, artists and entertainers scattered throughout the festival space. 

As a special treat, this will be the first Philly Pride Festival with a headlining act — Philly's self-proclaimed crown jewel Sapphira Cristál, who won the Miss Congeniality title on season 16 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," will be at the Muses stage at 6 p.m. With her wide vocal range and classical operatic training, expect an iconic and memorable public performance.

Other events this week

Pride Eve Party in the Park – Members of the FLINTA community can join pop-up lesbian bar Clementine Bar and community group Lavender Panzies at Dickenson Square Park, and Rebel and Wolf Coffee Shop on Friday from 4-8 p.m.
ComedySportz: The Queer Show – Improvisational comedy group ComedySportz is hosting a pride-themed show at their theater on 2030 Samson St. on Friday at 7 p.m.
Sip City PRIDE on the Water – Event organizer Sip City Mixer is throwing a party at Liberty Point on Saturday for queer women, non-binary and trans people looking for a view of the Delaware River. The ticketed event runs from 5-11 p.m.
The Sway Pride Boat Party – Kick off Pride Month on Moshulu for a boat party. Hosted by event organizer Sway Philly, partygoers can take advantage of four dance floors on Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Philly Fitness Pride Kickoff – Fitness enthusiasts can join any of the various classes hosted at several locations on Saturday and Sunday. Proceeds go to the Mazzoni Center, an LGBTQ-focused health care center in Philly.